(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A defence of Virginia, (and through her, of the South) in recent and pending contests against the sectional party"



DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA, 



[AND THROUGH HER, OP THE SOUTH,] 



IN 



RECENT AND PENDING CONTESTS AGAINST 
THE SECTIONAL PARTY. 



PROF. ROBERT L. MBNEY, D. D., 

OF VIRGINIA, 
LATE OF TUE CONFEDERATE ARMY. 



p CL NEW YORK: 

E. J. HALE & SON, 16 MURRAY STREET. 
1867. 



/ 



Eutercd according to Act of Congress, in tlie year 1SC7, 

By E. J. II ALE & SON, 

In tlie Clerk's Office of the District Court of tbe United States for tlie Soutliern 
District of New Yorlv. 






•^^^^ 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER L 
Introductory 9 

CmVPTER II. 
The African Slave Trade 2'1 

CHAPTER III. 

Legal Status of Sl.avert in the United States" 61 

• \ 

CHAPTER IV. 
History of Emancipation 79 

CHAPTER V. 

The Old Testament Argument 94 

• The Curse upon Canaan 101 

xVbraham a Slaveholder 104 

Ilagar Remanded to Slavery by God 110 

Slavery in the Laws of Moses 114 

Slavery in the Decalogue 122 

Objections to the Old Testament Argument 124 



4 CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The New Testament Argument 146 

Definition of AouAoj 1^6 

Slavery often mentioned ; yet not condemned 149 

Christ Applauds a Slaveholder 153 

The Apostles Separate Slavery and its Abuses 155 

Slavery no Essential Religious Evil 158 

Slaveholders fully Admitted to Church-membership 161 

Relative Duties of Masters and Slaves Recognized 167 

Phifemon and Onesimus 176 

St. Paul Reprobates Abolitionists , 185 

The Golden Rule Compatible with Slavery 192 

Was Christ Afraid to Condemn Slavery ? 198 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Ethicax Argument 309 

Misrepresentations Cleared 213 

The Rights of Man and Slavery 241 

Abolitionism is Jacobinism 263 

Labour of Another may be Property 271 

The Slave Received due Wages 273 

Effects of Slavery on Moral Character 276 

Slavery and the African Slave Trade 288 

The Morality of Slavery Vindicated by its Results 293 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Economical Effects of Slavery 295 

Slavery and Republican Government 297 

Slavery and Malthusiauism 303 

Comparative Productiveness of Slave Labour 317 

Effects of Slavery in the South, compared with those of Free 

Labour in the North 331 

Effects of Slavery on Population, Disease, and Crime 340 



CHAPTER IX. 
Conclusion 349 



PREFACE. 



To the conquerors of my native State, and perhaps to 
some of her sons, a large part of the following defence 
will appear wholly unseasonable. A discussion of a so- 
cial order totally overthrown, and never to be restored 
here, will appear as completely out of date to them as 
the ribs of Noah's ark, bleaching- amidst the eternal 
snows of Ararat, to his posterity, when engaged in 
building the Tower of Babel. ■ Let me distinctly premise, 
that I do not dream of affecting the perverted judgments 
of the great anti-slavery party which now rules, the 
hour. Of course, a set of people who make success the 
test of truth, as they avowedly do in this matter, and 
who have been busily and triumphantly engaged for so 
manj years in perfecting a plain injustice, to which 
they had deliberately made up their minds, are not 
within the reach of reasoning. Nothing but the hand 
of a retributive Providence can avail to reach them. 
The few among them who do not pass me by with silent 
neglect, I am well aware will content themselves with 
scolding ; they will not venture a rational reply. 

But my purpose in the following pages is, first and 
chiefly, to lay this pious and filial defence upon the tomb 
of my murdered mother, Virginia. Her detractors, after 
(5) 



6 PREFACE. 

committing the crime of destroying- a sovereign and co- 
equal commonwealth, seek also to bury her memory 
under a load of obloquy and falsehood. The last, and 
only office that remains to her sons is to leave their tes- 
timony for her righteous fame — feeble it may be now, 
amidst the din of passion and material power, yet inex- 
tinguishable as Truth's own torch. History will some 
day bring present events before her impartial bar ; and 
then her ministers will recall my obscure little book, and 
will recognize in it the words of truth and righteous- 
ness, attested by the signatures of time and events. 

Again : if there is indeed any future for civilized gov- 
ernment in what were the United States, the refutation 
of the abolitionist postulates must possess a living in- 
terest still. Men ask, " Is not the slavery question dead? 
Why discuss it longer ?" I reply : Would God it were 
dead ! Would that its mischievous principles were as 
completely a thing of the past as our rights in the Union 
in this particular are 1 But in the Church, abolitionism 
lives, and is more rampant and mischievous than ever, 
as infidelity ; for this is its true nature. Therefore the 
faithful servants of the Loid Jesus Christ dare not cease 
to oppose and unmask it. And in the State, abolitionism 
still lives in its full activity, as Jacobinism ; a fell spirit 
which is the destroyer of eveiy hope of just government 
and Christian order. Hence, the enlightened patriot 
cannot cease to contend with it, until he has accepted, 
in his hopelessness, the nefas de rej^uUica desperandi. 
Whether wise and good men deem that this discussion 
is antiquated, may be judged from the fact that Bishop 
Hopkins (one of the most revered divines among Epis- 
copalians) judged it proper, in 1864, and Dr. Stuart Rob- 



PBEFACE. 7 

inson, of Louisville, (equally esteemed among Presby- 
terians,) in 1865, to put forth new and able arguments 
upon this question. 

It should be added, in explanation, that, as a son of 
Virginia, I have naturally taken her, the oldest and 
greatest of the slaveholding States, as a representative. 
I was most familiar with her laws. In defending her, I 
have virtually defended the whole South, of which she 
was the type ; for the differences between her slave 
institutions and theirs were in no respect essential. 

The most fearful consequence of the despotic govern- 
ment to which the South is now subjected, is not the 
plundering of our goods, nor the abridgment of privi- 
leges, nor the death of innocent men, but the degrading 
and debauching of the moral sensibilities and principles 
of the helpless victims. The weapon of arbitrary rulers 
is physical force ; the shield of its victims is usually 
evasion and duplicity. Again : few minds and con- 
sciences have that stable independence which remains 
erect and undebauched amidst the disappointments, an- 
guish, and losses of defeat, and the desertion of num- 
bers, and the obloquy of a lost cause. Hence it has 
usually been found, in the history of subjugated nations, 
that they receive at the hands of their conquerors this 
crowning woe — a depraved, cringing, and cowardly 
spirit. The wisest, kindest, most patriotic thing which 
any man can do for his country, amidst such calamities, 
is to aid in preserving and reinstating the tottering 
principles of his countrymen ; to teach them, while they 
give place to inexorable force, to abate nothing of 
righteous convictions and of self-respect. And in this 
work he is as really a benefactor of the conquerors as 



8 ~ PEEFACE. 

of the conquered. For thus he aids in preserving that 
precious seed of men, who are men of principle, and not 
of expediency ; who alone (if any can) are able to re- 
construct society, after the tumult of faction shall have 
spent its rage, upon the foundations of truth and justice. 
The men at the North who have stood firmly aloof from 
the errors and crimes of this revolution, and the men at 
the South who have not been unmanned and debauched 
by defeat — these are the men whom Providence will call 
forth from their seclusion, when the fury of fanaticism 
shall have done its worst, to repair its mischiefs, and 
save America from chronic anarchy and barbarism ; if, 
indeed, any rescue is designed for us. It is this au- 
dience, " few but fit," with which I would chiefly com- 
mune. They will appreciate this humble effort to justify 
the history of our native States, and to sustain the 
hearts of their sons in the hour of cruel reproach. 

Hampden Sidney, Virginia, June, 1867. 



A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

I N T K O D U C T O K Y. 



To the rational historian who, two hundred years 
hence, shall study the history of the ninetoeiTth century, 
it will appear one of the most curious vagaries of hu- 
man opinion, that the Christianity and philanthropy of 
our day should have given so disproportionate an at- 
tention to the evils of African slavery. Such a dispas- 
sionate observer will perceive that, while many other 
gigantic evils were rampant in this age, there prevailed 
a sort of epidemic fashion of selecting this one upon 
which to exhaust the virtuous indignation and sym- 
pathies of the professed friends of human amelioration. 
And he will probably see in this a proof that the 
Christianity and benevolence of the nineteenth century 
were not so superior, in wisdom and breadth, to those 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth, as the busy actors 
in them had persuaded themselves ; but were, in fact, 
conceited, overweening, and fantastic. 

1* 



10 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

It will appear to liim a still stranger fact, that this 
zeal against African slavery was so partial in its ex- 
hibition. Up to this day, not only the Southern States 
of the late American Union, but the Brazilian, Turkish, 
and Spanish empires, among civilized nations, and 
many barbarous people, have continued the explicit 
practice of slavery, in so stern a form, that the institu- 
tion in the Confederate States was, by comparison, ex- 
tremely mild. Yet, throughout the Northern States of 
America and Europe, it is upon the devoted heads of 
Southern masters almost exclusively that the vials of 
holy wrath are poured out. Renascent Spain is quite a 
pet a'inong Yankees and Europeans, though tenaciously 
clinging, in her colonies, to a system of slavery at whose 
barbarities the public sentiment of these Southern States 
would shudder, and though persistently winking at the 
African Slave Trade in addition. Slaveholding Brazil 
is on most pleasing terms with the United States and 
the European governments, which vie in soliciting her 
commercial intercourse and friendship with most amia- 
ble suavity. But when the sounding lash of the seli- 
coAstituted friend of man is raised to chastise " the 
wickedness of slavery," all Yankeedom and all Europe 
seem -to think only of us sinners. And yet here, of 
all places where it prevailed, African bondage was 
most ameliorated and most justifiable ! Indeed, not a 
few of these consistent reformers have tenfold as much 
patience with that demon of slaveholders, the King of 
Dahomey, as with the benignant Christian master in Vir- 
ginia ; and go to that truculent savage to request him 
not to cut the throats of another thousand of his inof- 
fensive slaves in a "grand custom," with far more of 



INTRODUCTORY. 11 

courtesy; forbearance, and amiability, than they can 
exercise towards us, when they come to reason with us 
touching the rights of our late peaceful and well-fed 
domestics. We see no reason for this partiality, but 
that the King of Dahomey is himself of that colour, 
which seems to be the only one acceptable to the tastes 
of this tj'pc of philanthropists. An Abolitionist poet 
has sung of our oppressing our brother man, because 
he was " guilty of a skin." To give the contrast, these 
persons act as though, in their view, the King of Da- 
homey's meritorious possession of the skin of approved 
colour, were enough to cover his multitude of sins ! 
Jiow, if the rest of Christendom have determined to 
take slaveholders for their pet objects of abuse, we 
may justly demand of them, at least, to distribute their 
hard words more generally, and give all a share. 

This injustice is to be accounted for, in part, by the 
greater prominence which the late United States held 
before the world, making all their supposed sins more 
prominent ; and in part by the zeal of our late very 
amiable and equitable partners, the Yankee people. 
They reserved their abuse and venom on this subject 
for their Southern fellow-citizens alone. They made it 
their business to direct the whole storm of odium, from 
abroad and at home, on our heads. They, having the 
manufacture of American books chiefly in their hands, 
took pains to fill Europe and their -own country with 
industrious slanders against their own brethren : and 
so occupied the ear of the world with abuse of us, as 
to make men almost forget that there were any other 
slaveholders. For this they had two motives, one cal- 
culated, and the other passionate and instinctive. . The 



12 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

latter was the sectional animosity which was- bred by 
the very intimacy of their association under one gov- 
ernment, with rival interests. The man who has 
learned to hate his brother, hates him, and can abuse 
him, more heartily than any more distant enemy. The 
deliberative motive was, to reduce the South to a state 
of colonial dependency upon themselves, and exclude all 
other nations from the rich plunder which they were ac- 
customed to draw from the oppressed section, by means 
of the odium and misunderstanding which they created 
concerning us. The South was their precious gold 
mine, from which they had quarried, and hoped yet 
again to quarry, hoards of wealth, by the instruments of 
legislative and commercial jugglery. From this precious 
mine, they wished to keep other adventurers away by 
the customary expedient of spreading an odious char- 
acter for mo'ral malaria and pestilential vices around 
it. It did not suit their selfish purposes, that Europe 
should know, that in this slaveholding South was the 
true conservative power of the American Government, 
the most solid type of old English character, the 
gi'catest social stability and purity, and above all, the 
very fountain of international commerce and wealth; 
lest Europe should desire to visit and to trade with 
this section for itself. And the readiest way to prevent 
this, was to paint the South to all the rest of the world, 
in the blackest colours of misrepresentation, so as to 
have us regarded as a semi-barbarous race of domestic 
tyrants, whose chief occupations were chaining or 
scourging negroes, and stabbing each other with 
bowie-knives. The trick was a success. The Yankee 
almost monopolized the advantages of Southern trade 
and intercourse. 



TNTRODUCTORT. 13 

But the South should have been impelled by the 
same facts to defend its institutions before the public, 
opinion of the civilized world ; for opinion is always 
omnipotent in the end, whatever prejudices and physi- 
cal powers may oppose it. If its current is allowed to 
flow unchecked, its silent waters gradually undermine 
the sternest obstacles. This great truth men of thought 
are more apt to recognize than men of action. "While 
the truo^tatesman is fully awake to it, the mere poli- 
tician is unconscious of its power ; and when his expe- 
dients — his parties and his statutes — have all been si- 
lently swept away by the diffusion of abstract princi- 
ples opposed to them, he cannot understand his over- 
throw. If the late Confederate States would have 
gained tliat to which they aspired, the position of a 
respectable and prosperous people among the nations 
of the world, it was extremely important that they 
should secure from their neighbours a more just appre- 
ciation of their institutions. A respectful and power- 
ful appeal in defence of those institutions was due to 
our neighbours' opinions, unfair and unkind as they 
have been to us ; and due to our own rights and self- 
respect. 

Our mere politicians committed an error in this par- 
ticular, while we were still members of the United 
States, by which we should now learn. They failed 
to meet the Abolitionists with sufiBcient persistence 
and force on the radical question — the righteousness 
of African servitude as existing among us. It is true 
that this fundamental point has received a discussion 
at the South, chiefly at the hands of clergymen and 
literary men, w4iich has evoked p, number of works of 



14 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the highest merit and power, constituting almost a 
literature on the subject. One valuable eft'ect of this 
literature was to enlighten and satisfy the Southern 
mind, and to produce a settled imanimity of opinion, 
even greater than that which existed against us in 
other States. But such is the customary and over- 
weening egotism of the Yankee mind, that none of 
these works, whatever their merit, could ever obtain 
general circulation or reading in the North^ People 
there were satisfied to read only their own shallow and 
one-sided arguments, quietly treating us as though our 
guilt was too clear to admit of any argument, or we 
were too inferior to be capable of it. The consequence 
was, that although the North has made the wrongs of 
the African its own peculiar cause — its great master- 
question — it is pitiably ignorant of the facts and argu- 
ments of the case. After twenty-five years of discus- 
sion, we find that the staple of the logic of their 
writers is still the same set of miserable and shallow 
sophisms, which Southern divines and statesmen have 
threshed into dust, and driven away as the chaff before 
the whirlwind, so long ago, and so often, that any intel- 
ligent man among us is almost ashamed to allude to 
them as requiring an answer. When the polemic heat 
of this quarrel shall have passed away, and the dispas- 
sionate antiquary shall compare the literature of the 
two parties, he will be amazed to see that of the popu- 
lar one so poor, beggarly, and false, and that of the 
unpopular one so manly, philosophic, and powerful. 
But at present, such is the clamour of prejudice, our 
cause has not obtained a hearing from the world. 
The North having arrogated to itself the name of 



INTRODUCTORY. 15 

chief manufacturer of literary material, and having 
chief control of the channels of foreign intercourse, of 
course our plea has been less listened to across the 
Atlantic than in America. The South has been con- 
demned unheard. Well-informed men in Great Britain, 
we presume, are ignorant of the names and works of 
the able and dignified advocates to whom the South 
confidently and proudly committed her justification ; 
and were willing to render their verdict upon the mei'e 
accusations of our interested slanderers. But while the 
United States yet existed unbroken, there was one forum, 
where we could have demanded a hearing upon the fun- 
damental question : the Federal Legislature. From that 
centre of universal attention, our defence of the right- 
eousness of the relation of master and slave, as existing 
among us, might liave been spread before the public 
mind ; and the abstract question having been decided 
by triumphant argument, the troubles of our Federal re- 
lations might possibly have been quieted. There were 
two courses, either of which might have been followed by 
our politicians, in defending our Federal rights against 
Abolitionism. One plan would have been, to exclude the 
whole question of slavery persistently from the national 
councils, as extra-constitutional and dangerous, and to 
assert this exclusion always, and at every risk, as the 
essential condition of the continuance of the South in 
those councils. The other plan was, to meet that ab- 
stract question from the first, as underlying and de- 
termining the whole subject, and to debate it every- 
where, until it was decided, and the verdict of the 
national mind was passed upon it. Unfortunately, the 
Southern men did neither persjstently. After tempo- 



16 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

rary resistance, tliey permitted the debate ; and then 
failed to conduct it on fundamental principles. With 
the exception of Mr. Calhoun, (whom events have now 
shown to have been the most far-seeing of our states- 
men, notwithstanding the fashion of men to depreciate 
him as an "abstractionist" while he lived,) Southern 
politicians usually satisfied themselves with saying, 
that the whole matter was, according to the Constitu- 
tion, one of State sovereignty ; that Congress had no 
right to legislate concerning its merits ; and that there- 
fore they would not seem to admit such a right, by con- 
descending to argue the matter -on its merits. The 
premise was true ; but the inference was practically 
most mischievous. If the Congress had no right to 
legislate about slavery, then it should not have been 
permitted to debate it. And Southern men, if they in- 
tended to make their stand on that ground, should have 
exacted the exclusion of all debate, at every cost. But 
this was perhaps impossible. The debate came ; and, 
of course, the principles agitated ran at once back of 
the Constitution, to the abstract ethical question : " Is 
the holding of an African slave in the South a moral 
wrong in itself?" Southern men should have indus- 
triously followed them there ; but they did not do it : 
and soon the heat and animosity of an aggressive and 
growing faction hurried the country beyond the point 
of calm consideration. A moment's reflection should 
have shown that the decisive question was the abstract 
righteousness of the relation of master and slave. The 
Constitution gave to the Federal Government no power 
over that relation in the States. True ; but that Con- 
stitution was a compact between sovereign common- 



INTRODUCTORY. 17 

wealths : it certainly gave recognition and protection 
to the relation of master and slave ; and if that rela- 
tion is intrinsically unrighteous, then it protected a 
wrong. Then the sovereign States of the North were 
found in the attitude of protecting a wrong by their 
voluntary compact ; and therefore} it would ha^e been 
the duty of all citizens of those States to seek, by all 
righteous means, the amendment or repeal of that com- 
pact. They would not, indeed, have been justified to 
claim all the benefits of the compact, and still agitate 
under it a matter which {Ac compact excluded. But 
they would have been more than justified, they would 
have been bound to clear their skirts of the wrong, by 
surrendering the compact, if necessary. There was no 
evasion from the duty, except by proving that the Con- 
stitution' did nothing unrighteous by protecting the re- 
lation ; in other words, that the relation was not un- 
righteous. Again, on the subject of the "Higher Law," 
our conservative statesmen and divines threw up a 
vast amount of pious dust. This partially quieted the 
country for a time ; but, as might have been foreseen, 
it was destined to be inevitably blown away. There is 
a higher law, superior to constitutions and statutes ; not, 
indeed, the perjured and unprincipled cant which has no 
conscience against swearing allegiance to a Constitu- 
tion and laws which it declares sinful, in order to grasp 
emoluments and advantages, and then pleads " con- 
science" for disobeying what it had voluntarily sworn 
to obey ; but the everlasting law of right in the word 
of God. Constitutions and laws which contravene this, 
ought to be lawfully amended or repealed ; and it is the 
duty of all citizens to seek it. Let this be applied to 



18 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the Fugitive Slave Law. If the bondage was intrin- 
sically unrighteous, then the Federal law which aided 
in remanding the fugitive to it, legalized a wrong. It 
became, therefore, the duty of all United States officers, 
who were required by statute to execute this law — not, 
indeed, t(» hold their offices and emoluments, and sw£ar 
fidelity, and then plead conscientious scruples for the 
neglect of these sworn fimctions, (for this is a detest- 
able union of theft and perjury with hypocrisy,) — but to 
resign those offices wholly, with their profits and their 
sinful fimctions. It would have become the duty of 
any private citizen, who might have been summoned by 
a United States officer, to act in a 2^osse, guard, or any 
other way in enforcing this law, to decline obedience ; 
and then, in accordance with Scripture, to submit 
meekly to the legal penalty of such a refusal, until 
the unrighteous law were repealed. But, moreover, it 
would have become the right and duty of these and all 
other citizens to seek the repeal of that law, or, if 
necessary, the abrogation of that Federal compact 
which necessitated it. But on the other hand, when 
we proved that the relation of master and slave is not 
unrighteous, and that therefore the Fugitive Slave Law 
required the perpetration of no wrong, and was consti- 
tutional, it became the clear moral duty of every citizen 
to concur in obeying it. 

Once -more : the true key of the more commanding 
question of free soil was in the same abstract ethical 
point. If the relation of master and servant was un- 
righteous, and the institution a standing §in against 
God and human rights, then it was not to be extended 
at the mere dictate of convenience and gain. Although 



INTBODUCTORY. 19 

Northern men might be compelled to admit that, in the 
States, it was subject to State control alone, and ex- 
pressly exempted from all interference of the Federal 
Government by the Constitution ; yet, outside of the 
States, that Constitution and Government, representa- 
tive as it was as a majority of free States, ought not to 
have been prostituted to the extension of a great moral 
wrong. Those free States ought, if their Southern part- 
ners would not consent to relinquish their right by a 
peaceable amendment of the Constitution, to have re- 
tired from the odious compact, and to have surrendered 
the advantages of the Union_ for conscience' sake. If, 
on the contrary, African slavery in America was no 
unrighteousness, no sin ag%inst human rights, and no 
contradiction to the doctrines of the Constitution, then 
the general teachings of that instrument concerning 
the absolute equality of the States and their several 
citizens under it, were too clear to leave a doubt, that 
the letter and spirit of the document gave the slave- 
holder just the same right to carry his slaves into any 
territory, with that of the Connecticut man to carry his 
clock-factory. Hence the ethical question, when once 
the slavery agitation became inevitable, should have 
been made the great question by us. The halls of Con- 
gress should have rung with the arguments, the news- 
paper press should have teemed with them. But little 
was done to purpose in this discussion, save by clergy- 
men and literary men ; and for reasons already indicated 
they were practically unheard. After it was too late 
to stem the torrent of passion and sectional ambition 
pouring against us, politicians did indeed awake to a 
tardy perception of these important views ; but the 



20 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

eyes of the Northern people were then obstinately- 
closed against them by a foregone conclusion. 

We have cited these recent and striking illustrations 
of the fundamental importance of the ethical discussion, 
to justify the task we have undertaken. Some may 
suppose that, as the United States are no more as they 
were, and slaveholding is absolutely and finally ended, 
the question is obsolete. This is a great mistake. 
The status of the negro is just beginning to develop 
itself as an agitating and potent element in the politics 
of America. It will still continue the great ground of 
contrast, and subject of moral strife, between the North 
and the South. 

We have attempted to indicate the potency of the 
slow and silent but irresistible influence of opinion 
over human affairs. Let our enemies claim the tri- 
umph without question in the field of opinion ; let 
them continue to persuade mankind successfully that 
we were a people stained by a standing social crime ; 
and we shall be continually worsted by them. In order 
to be free, we niust be respected : and to this end we 
must defend our good name. We need not urge that 
instinctive desire for the good opinion of our fellow- 
men, and that sense of justice, which must ever ren- 
der it painful to be the objects of undeserved odium. 
Instead, therefore, of regarding the discussion of the 
rightfulness of African slavery as henceforth anti- 
quated, we believe that it assumes, at this era, a new 
and wider importance. While the swords of our people 
were fighting the battles of a necessary self-defence, 
the pens of our statesmen should have been no less 
diligent in defending us against the adverse opinion of 



INTRODUCTORY. 21 

a prejudiced world. Every opening should have been 
seized to disabuse the minds of Europeans, a jury to 
which we have hitherto had no access, although con- 
demned by it. The discussion should everywhere have 
been urged, until public opinion was efifectually rec- 
tified and made just to the Confederate States, 

At the first glance, it appears an arduous, if not a 
hopeless undertaking, to address the minds of such na- 
tions as the North and Great Britain in defence of 
Southern slavery. We have to contend against the 
prescriptive opinions and prejudices of years' growth. 
We assert a thesis which our adversaries have taken 
pains to represent as an impossible absurdity, of which 
the very assertion is an insult to the understanding and 
heart of a freeman. Ten thousand slanders have given 
to the very name of Southern slaveholder a colouring, 
which darkens every argument that can be advanced 
in his favour. Yet the task of self-defence is not entirely 
discouraging. Our best hope is in the fact that the 
cause of our defence is the cause of God's Word, and of 
its supreme authoi'ity over the human conscience. For, 
as we shall evince, that Word is on our side, and the 
teachings of Abolitionism are clearly of rationalistic 
origin, of infidel tendency, and only sustained by reck- 
less and licentious perversions of the meaning of the 
Sacred text. It will in the end become apparent to the 
world, not only that the conviction of the wickedness 
of slaveholding was drawn wholly from sources foreign 
to the Bible, but that it is a legitimate corollary from 
that fantastic, atheistic, and radical theory of human 
rights, which made the Reign of Terror in France, which 
has threatened that country, and which now threatens 



22 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

• 
the United States, with the horrors of Red-Republican- 
ism. Because we believe that God intends to vindicate 
His Divine Word, and to make all nations honour it ; be- 
cause we confidently rely in the force of truth to explode 
all dangerous error; therefore we confidently expect that 
the world will yet do justice to Southern slaveholders. 
The anti-scriptural, infidel, and radical grounds upon 
which our assailants have placed themselves, make our 
cause practically the cause of truth and order. This is 
already understood here by thinking men who have 
seen Abolitionism bear its fruit unto perfection : and 
the world will some day understand it. We shall pos- 
sess at this time another advantage in defending our 
good name, derived fi-om our late effort for independence. 
Hitherto we have been little known to Europeans, 
save through the very charitable representations of our 
fraternal partners, the Yankees. Foreigners visiting 
the United States almost always assumed, that when 
they had seen the North, they had seen the country, 
(for Yankeedom always modestly represented itself as 
constituting all of America that was worth looking at.) 
Hence the character of the South was not known, nor 
its importance appreciated. Its books and periodicals 
were unread by Europeans. But now the very interest 
excited by our struggle has caused other nations to ob- 
serve for themselves, and to find that we are not Trog- 
lodytes nor Anthropophagi. 

Another introductory remark which should be made 
is, that this discussion, to produce any good result, 
must distinctly disclaim some extravagant and erro- 
neous grounds which have sometimes been assumed. 
It is not our purpose to rest our defence on an assump- 



INTRODUCTORY. 23 

tion of a diversity of race, which is contradicted both 
by natural history and by the Scripture, declaring that 
" God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to 
dwell on all the face of the earth." Nor does the 
Southern cause demand such assertions as that the con- 
dition of master and slave is everywhere the normal 
condition of human society, and preferable to all others 
under all circumstances. The burden of odium which 
the cause will then carry, abroad, will be immeasurably 
increased by such positions. Nor can a purpose be 
ever subserved by arguing the question by a series of 
comparisons of the relative advantages of slave and free 
labour, laudatory to the one part and invidious to the 
other. There has been hitherto, on both sides of this 
debate, a mischievous forgctfulness of the old adage, 
"comparisons are odious!" When Southern men thus 
argued, they assumed the disadvantage of appearing as 
the propagandists, instead of the peaceful defenders, of 
an institution which immediately concerned nobody but 
themselves ; and they arrayed the self-esteem of all 
opponents against us by making our defence the ne- 
cessary disparagement of the other parties. True, 
those parties have usually been but too zealous to 
play at this invidious game, beginning it in advance. 
We should not imitate them-. It is time all parties had 
learned that the lawfulness and policy of different so- 
cial systems cannot be decided by painting the special 
and exceptional features of hardship, abuse, or mis- 
management, which either of the advocates may imagine 
he sees in the system of his opponent. The course of 
this great discussion has too often been this: Each 
party has set up an easel, and spread a canvas upon it, 



24 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and drawn the system of its adversary in contrast with 
its own, in the blackest colours which a heated and an- 
gry fancy could discover amidst the evils and abuses 
imputed to the rival institution. The only possible re- 
sult was, that each should blacken his adversary more 
and more ; and consequently that both should grow 
more and more enraged. And this result did not argue 
the entire falsehood of either set of accusations. For, 
unfortunately, the human j-ace is a fallen race — de- 
praved, selfish, unrighteous and oppressive, under all 
institutions. Out of the best social order, committed to 
such hands, there still proceeds a hideous amount of 
wrongs and woe ; and that, not because the order is 
unrighteous, but because it is administered by depraved 
man. For this reason, and for another equally conclu- 
sive, we assert that the lawfulness, and even the wisdom 
or policy of social institutions affecting a great popula- 
tion, cannot be decided by these odious contrasts of 
their special wrong results. That second reason is, 
that the field of view is too vast and varied to be 
brought fairly under comparison in all its details before 
the limited eye of man. First, then, if we attempt to 
settle the matter by endeavouring to find how much evil 
can be discovered in the working of the opposite sys- 
tem, there will probably be no end at all to the melan- 
choly discoveries which both parties will make against 
each other, and so no end to the debate : for the guilty 
passions of men are everywhere perpetual fountains of 
wrong-doing. And second, the comparison of results 
must be deceptive, because no finite mind can .take in 
all the details of both the wholes. Our wisdom, then, 
will be to take no extreme positions, and to make no 



INTRODUCTORY. 25 

invidious comparisons unnecessarily. It is enough for 
us to place ourselves on this impregnable stand ; that 
the relation of master and slave is recognized as lawful 
in itself by a sound philosophy, and above all, by the 
Word of God. It is enough for us to say (what is 
capable -of overwhelming demonstration) that for the 
African race, such as Providence has made it, and 
where He has placed it in America, slavery was the 
righteous, the best, yea, the only tolerable relation. 
Whether it would be wise or just for other States to in- 
troduce it, we need not argiie. 

And in conclusion, we would state that it is our pur- 
pose to argue this proposition chiefly on Bible grounds. 
Our people and our national neighbours are profess- 
edly Christians ; the vast majority of them profess to 
get their ideas of morality, as all should, from the Sa- 
cred Scriptures. A few speculative minds may reason 
out moral conclusions from ethical principles ; but the 
masses derive their ideas of right and wrong from a 
"Thus saith the Lord." And it is a homage we owe to 
the Bible, from whose principlesi we have derived so 
much of social prosperity and blessing, to appeal to its 
verdict on every subject upon which it has spoken. In- 
deed, when we remember how human reason and learn- 
ing have blundered in their philosophizings ; how great 
parties have held for ages the doctrine of the divine 
right of kings as a political axiom ; how the whole civ- 
ilized world held to the righteousness of persecuting 
errors in opinion, even for a century after the Reforma- 
tion ; we shall feel little confidence in mere human rea- 
sonings on political principles ; we shall rejoice to follow 
a steadier light. The scriptural argument for the 

2 



26 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

righteousness of slavery gives us, moreover, this great 
advantage : If we urge it successfully, we compel the 
Abolitionists either to submit, or else to declare their 
true infidel character. We thrust them fairly to the 
wall, by proving that the Bible is against them ; and if 
they declare themselves against the Bible (as the most 
of them doubtless will) they lose the support of all 
honest believers in God's Word. 

This discussion will therefore be, in the main, a series 
of expositions. The principles of scriptural exposition 
are simply those of common sense ; and it will be the 
writer's aim so to explain them that they shall commend 
themselves to every honest mind, and to rid them of 
the sophism^ of the Abolitionists. 

But before we proceed to this discussion we propose 
to devote a few pages to the exposition of the historical 
facts which place the attitude of -Virginia in the proper 
light. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 27 



CHAPTER II. 

THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 

This iniquitous traffick, beginning with the importa- 
tion of negroes into Ilispaniola in 1503, was first pm'- 
sued by the English in 1562, under Sir John Hawkins, 
who sold a cargo at the same island that year. The 
news of his success reaching Queen Elizabeth, she be- 
came a partner with him in other voyages. Under the 
Stuart kings, repeated charters were given to noblemen 
and merchants, to form companies for this trade, in one 
of which, the Duke of York, afterwards James II., was 
a partner. The colony of Virginia was planted in 1601. 
The first cargo of negroes, only twenty in number, 
arrived there in a Dutch vessel in 1620, and was bought 
by the colonists. All the commercial nations of Eu- 
rope were implicated in the trade ; and all the colonies 
in America were supplied, to a greater or less extent, 
with slave labour from Africa, whether Spanish, Portu- 
guese, English, Prench, or Dutch. But England be- 
came, on the whole, the leader in this trade, and was 
unrivalled by any, save her daughter. New England. 

The happy revolution of 1688, which placed William 
and Mary on the throne, arrested for a time the activity 
of the royal company for slave trading, by throwing the 
business open to the whole nation. For one of the re- 



28 A DEFENCE OF VIRQINIA. 

forms, stipulated with the new government, was the 
abolition of all monopolies. But the company did not 
give up its operations ; and it even succeeded in exact- 
ing from Parliament an indemnity of £10,000 per annum 
for the loss of its exclusive privilege. But the most 
splendid triumph of British enterprise was that 
achieved by the treaty of Utrecht, 1112, between Queen 
Anne and Spain. By a compact called the Asiento 
treaty, the Spanish monarch resigned to the English 
South Sea Company, the exclusive slave trade even be- 
tween Africa and the Spanish colonies. Four thousand 
eight hundred slaves were to be furnished to the Span- 
ish colonies annually, for thirty years, paying to the 
King of Spain an impost of thirty-three and a third dol- 
lars per head ; but the company had the privilege of 
introducing as many more as they could sell, paying 
half duty upon them. The citizens oT every other na- 
tion, even Spaniards themselves, were prohibited from 
bringing a single slave. The British Queen and the 
King of Spain became stockholders in the venture, to 
the extent of one-fourth each ; the remainder of the 
stock was left to British citizens. And Anne, in her 
speech from the throne, detailing to her Parliament the 
provisions of the treaty of Utrecht, congratulated thei^i 
on this monopoly of slave trading, as the most splendid 
triumph of her arms and diplomacy.* Meantime, the 
African Company, with private adventurers at a later 
day, plied the trade with equal activity, for furnishing 
the British colonies. Finally, in 1149, every restriction 



* Bancroft, Hist. U. S., vol. iii., p. 233. Com. BoutweU, Slave 
Trade. Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 414. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 29 

upon private enterprise was removed ; and the slave 
trade was thrown open to all Englishmen ; for, says 
the statute : " the slave trade is v(jry advantageous to_ 
Great Britain." But every resource of legislation, and 
even of war, was employed during the eighteenth cen- 
tury to secure the monopoly of the trade to British 
subjects, and to enlarge the market for their commodity 
in all the colonies. To this end, the royal government 
of the plantations, which afterwards became the United 
States, was persevcringly directed. The complaint of 
Hugh Drysdale, Deputy Governor of Virginia, in 1726, 
that when a tax was imposed to check the influx of 
Africans, " the interfering interest of the African com- 
pany has obtained the repeal of the law," * was com- 
mon to him and all the patriotic rulers of the Southern 
colonies. 

Reynal estimates the whole number of negroes stolen 
from Africa before 1776 at nine millions; Bancroft at 
something more than six millions. Of these, British 
subjects carried at least half: and to the above num- 
bers must be added a quarter of a million thrown by 
Englishmen into the Atlantic on the voyage.f As the 
traflfick continued in full activity until 1808, it is a safe 
estimate that the number of victims to British cupidity 
taken from Africa was increased to five millions. The 
profit made by Englishmen upon the three millions car- 
ried to America before 1776, could not have been less 
than four hundred millions of dollars. The negroes 
cost the traders nothing but worthless trinkets, dam- 
aged fire-arms, and New England rum : they were 

* Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 415. t Ibid., vol. ill., pp. 411, 412. 



30 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

usually paid for in hard money at the place of sale. 
This lucrative trade laid the foundation, to a great de- 
gi'ee, for the comm^cial wealth of London, Bristol, and 
Liverpool. The capital which now makes England the 
workshop and emporium of the world, was in large part 
born of the African slave trade. Especially was this 
the chief source of the riches which founded the British 
empire in Hindostan. The South Sea and the African 
Companies were the prototypes and pioneers of that 
wonderful institution, the East India Company; and 
the money by which the latter was set on foot was de- 
rived mainly from the profitable slave-catching of the 
former. When the direct returns of the African trade 
in the eighteenth century are remembered ; when it is 
noted how much colonial trade has contributed to Brit- 
ish greatness, and when it is considered that England's 
colonial system was wholly built upOn African slavery, 
the intelligent reader will be convinced that the slave 
trade Was the corner-stone of the present splendid pros- 
perity of that Empire. 

But after the nineteenth century had arrived, the 
prospective impolicy of the trade,* the prevalence of 
democratic and Jacobin opinions imported from France, 
the shame inspired by the example of Virginia, with 
(we would fain hope) some influences of the Christian 
religion upon the better spirits, began to create a pow- 
erful party against the trade. First, Clarkson pub- 
lished in Latin, and then in English, his work against 
the slave trade, exposing its unutterable barbarities, as 
practised by Englishmen, and arguing its intrinsic un- 

* Speeches of Pitt and Fox, in Clarkson's Ilist., pp. 315, 339. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 31 

righteousness. The powerful parliamentary influence 
of Wilberforce was added, and afterwards that of the 
younger Pitt. The commercial classes made a tremen- 
dous resistance for many years, sustained by many 
noblemen and by the royal family; but at length the 
Parliament, in 1808, declared the trade illicit, and took 
measures to suppress it. Since that time, the British 
Government, with a tardy zeal, but without disgorging 
any of the gross spoils with which it is so plethoric, 
wrung from the tears and blood of Africa, has arro- 
gated to itself the special task of the catchpole of the 
seas, to " police" the world against the continuance of 
its once profitable sin. Its present attitude is in curi- 
ous contrast with its recent position, as greedy monop- 
olist, and queen of slave traders ; and especially when 
the observer adverts to her activity in the Coolie traf- 
fick, that new and more friglitful form, under which the 
Phariseeism of this age has restored the trade, he will 
have little difficulty in deciding, whether the meddle- 
some activity of England is prompted by a virtuous 
repentance, or by a desire to replace the advantages of 
the African commerce with other fruits of commercial 
supremacy. 

The share of the Colony of Virginia in the African 
slave trade was that of an imwilling recipient ; never 
that of an active party. She had no ships engaged in 
any foreign trade ; for the strict obedience of her gov- 
ernors and citizens to the colonial laws of the mother 
country prevented her trading to foreign ports, and 
all the carrying trade to British ports and colonies 
was in the hands of New Englanders and Englishmen. 
In the replies submitted by Sir William Berkeley, Gov- 



82 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

ernor, ICtl, to certain written inquiries of the "Lords 
of Plantations," wc find the following statement : "And 
this is the cause why no great or small vessels ai-e 
built here ; for we are most obedient to all laws, while 
the men of New England break through, and trade to 
any place that their interest leads them." * The same 
facts, and the sense of grievance which the colonists 
derived from them, are curiously attested by the party 
of Nathaniel Bacon also, who opposed Sir William 
Berkeley. When they supposed that they had wrested 
the government from his hands, Sarah Drummond, an 
enthusiastic patriot, exclaimed : " Now we can build 
ships, and like New England, trade to any part of the 
world." f But her hopes were not realized : Virginia 
continued without ships. No vessel ever went from 
her ports, or was ever manned by her citizens, to en- 
gage in the slave trade ; and while her government cdn 
claim the high and peculiar honour of having ever op- 
posed the cruel trafifick, her citizens have been pre- 
cluded by Providence from the least participation in it. 
The planting of the commercial States of North 
America began with the colony of Puritan Independ- 
ents at Plymouth, in 1G20, which was subsequently 
enlarged into the State of Massachusetts. The other 
trading colonies, Khode Island and Connecticut, as well 
as New Hampshire (which never had an extensive 
shipping interest), were offshoots of Massachusetts. 
They partook of the same characteristics and pursuits ; 
and hence, the example of the parent colony is taken 



* Herring, Stat, at Large, vol. ii., p. 510. 
t Campbell's Virginia, p. 304. 



THE AFKICAN SLAVE TRAD-E. 33 

here as a fair representation of them. The first ship 
from America, which embarked in the African slave 
trade, was the Desire, Captain Pierce, of Salem ; and 
this was among tlic first vessels ever built in the col- 
ony. The promptitude with which the " Puritan 
Fathers" embarked in this business may be compre- 
hended, when it is stated that the Desire sailed upon 
her voyage in June, 1637.* The first feeble and du- 
bious foothold was gained by the white man at Plym- 
outh less than seventeen years before ; and as is 
well known, many j^ears were expended by the strug- 
gle of the handful of settlers for existence. So that it 
may be correctly said, that the commerce of New Eng- 
land was born of the slave trade ; as its subsequent 
prosperity was largely founded upon it. The Desire, 
proceeding to the Bahamas, with a cargo of " dry fish 
and strong liquors, the only commodities for those 
parts," obtained the negroes from two British men-of- 
war, which had captured them from a Spanish slaver. 

To understand the growth of the New England slave 
trade, two connected topics must be a little illustrated. 
The first of these is the enslaving of Indians. The 
pious "Puritan Fathers" found it convenient to assume 
that they were God's chosen Israel, and the pagans 
about them were Amalek and Amorites. They hence 
deduced their righteous title to exterminate or enslave 
the Indians, whenever they became troublesome. As 
soon as the Indian wars began, we find the captives 
enslaved. The ministers and magistrates solemnly 
authorized the enslaving of the wives and posterity of 



* Winthrop's Journal, i., 254. Moore's Slavery in Mass., pp. 5, 6. 

9* 



34 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

their enemies for the crimes of the fathers and hus- 
bands in daring to defend their own soil. In 1646, the 
Commissioners of the United Colonies made an order,* 
that upon complaint of a trespass by Indians, any of that 
plantation of Indians that should entertain, protect, or 
rescue the offender, might be seized by reprisal, and held 
as hostages for the delivery of the culprits ; in failure of 
which, the innocent persons seized should be slaves, and 
be exported for sale as such. In I6tT, the General 
Court of Massachuscttsf ordered the enslaving of the 
Indian youths or girls " of such as had been in hostility 
•with the colony, or had lived among its enemies in the 
time of the war." In the winter of 16*15-6, Major Wal- 
dron, commissioner of the General Court for that terri- 
tory now included in Maine, issued a general warrant 
.for seizing, enslaving, and exporting every Indian 
" known to be a manslayer, traitor, or conspirator." J 
The reader will not be surprised to hear, that so mon- 
strous an order, committed for execution to any or 
every man's irresponsible hands, was employed by 
many shipmasters for the vilest purposes of kidnapping 
and slave hunting. But in addition, in numerous in- 
stances whole companies of peaceable and inoffensive 
Indians, submitting to the colonial authorities, were 
seized and enslaved by publick order. In one case one 
hundred and fifty of the Dartmouth tribe, including 
their women and children, coming in by a voluntary 
submission, and under a general pledge of amnesty, 
and in another instance, four hundred of a different 
tribe, were shamelessly enslaved. By means of these 

* Moore's SUwery in Mass., p. 33. + Ibid., p. 38. X Ibid-, P- 47. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 35 

proceedings, the numbers of Indian servants became sc 
large, that they were regarded as dangerous to the 
Colony. They were, moreover, often untamable in 
temper, prone to run away to their kinsmen in the 
neighbouring wilderness, and much less docile and 
effective for labour than the "blackamoors." Hence 
the prudent and thrifty saints saw the advantage of 
exporting them to the Bermudas, Barbadocs, and other 
islands, in exchange for negroes and merchandise ; and 
this traflSck, being much encouraged, and finally en- 
joined, by the authorities, became so extensive as to 
substitute negroes for Indian slaves, almost wholly in 
the Colony.* Among the slaves thus deported were 
the favourite wife and little son of the heroic King 
Philip. The holy Independent Divines, Cotton, Ar- 
nold, and Increase Mather, inclined to the opinion that 
he should be slain for his father's sins, after the exam- 
ple of the children of Achan and Agag;t but the 
authorities probably concluded that his deportation 
would be a more profitable, as well as a harsher pun- 
ishment. - These shocking incidents will no longer ap- 
pear incredible to the reader, when he is informed that 
the same magistrates sold and transported into foreign 
slavery two English children, one of them a girl, for 
attending a Quaker meeting ; J while the adult ladies 
present were fined iElO each, and whipped. § 

* On the whole of above, sec Moore, pp. 33-46. 

t Moore, p. 45. t Ibid., pp. 33, 34. 

§ The following passage, from a late valuable letter of Thomas P. 
Dcvcrcnx, Esq., of Halifax County, North Carolina, to the Governor 
of that State, gives us one item of evidence as to the extent of this 
abominable usage of the "Pilgrim Fathers." See Raleigh Daily Sen- 
tinel, Dec. 12th, 1866 : " It is worthy of note that, amongst my slaves, 



36 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

In pleasing- contrast with these enormities, stands 
the contemporaneous legislation of the Colony of Vir- 
ginia touching- its Indian neighbours. By three acts, 
1655 to 165T, the colonists were strictly forbidden to 
trespass upon the lands of the Indians, or to dispossess 
them of their homes even by purchase. Slaying an 
Indian for his trespass was prohibited. The Indians, 
provided they were not armed, were authorized to pass 
freely through the several settlements, for trading, fish- 
ing, and gathering wild fruits. It was forbidden to en- 
slave or deport any Indian, no matter under what cir- 
cumstances he was captured ; and Indian apprentices 
or servants for a term of years could only be held as 
such by authority of their parents, or if they had none, 
of the magistrates.* Their careful training in Chris- 
tianity was enjoined, and at the end of their terms, 
their discharge, with wages, was secured by law. 

The second, and more potent cause of development 
of the New England slave trade, was the commerce be- 
tween those colonies and the West Indies. Each of 
the mother countries endeavoured to monopolize to her- 
self all the trade and transportation of her own colo- 
nies. But it was the perpetual policy of Great Britain 
to intrude into this monopoly, which Spain preserved 
between herself and her colonies, while she jealously 
maintained her own intact. This motive prompted her 



there was a large intermixture of Indian IjIoocI from the Peqnots, 
brouglit from Massachusetts and sold in Nortli Carolina, in the early 
part of the 18th century, and, up to the act of emancipation, I could, 
with tolerable certainty, detect the mixed race by their addiction to 
liquor aud its effects upon them." 
* Herring, Stat, at Large, vol. i., pp. 395, 415, 456. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 37 

systematic connivance at every species of illicit navi- 
gation and traffick of her subjects in those seas. The 
New England colonies were not slow to imitate their 
brethren at home ; and although their maritime ven- 
tures were as really violations of the colonial laws of 
England, as of the rights of Spain, the mother country 
easily connived at them for the sake of their direction. 
The Spanish Main was consequently the scene of a 
busy trade during the seventeenth century, which was 
as unscrupulous and daring as the operations of the 
Buccaneers of the previous age. The only difference 
was, that the red-handed plunder was now perpetrated 
on the African villages instead of the Spanish, and for 
the joint advantage of the New England adventurers 
and the Spanish and British planters. At length, the 
treaty of Utrecht, in 1*112, recognized this encroaching 
trade, and provided for its extension throughout the 
Indies.* New England adventure, as well as British, 
thus received a' new m^:)eit{s. The wine-staves of her 
forests, the salt fish of her coasts, the tobacco and flour 
of Virginia, were exchanged for sugar and molasses. 
These were distilled into that famous New England 
rum, which, as Dr. Jeremy Belknap, of Massachusetts, 
declared, was the foundation of the African slave trade. f 
The slave ships, freighted with this rum, proceeded to 
the coast of Guinea, and, by a most gainful traffick, 
exchanged it for negroes, leaving the savage communi- 
ties behind them on fire with barbarian excess, out of 

which a new crop of petty wars, murders, enslavements, 

* 

* Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 231. 

t Moore's Hist, of Slavery in Mass., p. 6. 



88 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and kidnappings grew, to furnish future cargoes of 
victims ; while they wafted their human freight to the 
Spanish and British Indies, Virginia, the Carolinas, and 
their own colonies. The larger number of their victims 
were sold in these markets ; the less saleable remnants 
of cargoes were brought home, and sold in the New 
England ports. But not seldom, whole cargoes were 
brought thither directly. Dr. Belknap remembered, 
among many others, one which consisted almost wholly 
of children.* 

Thus, the trade of which the good ship Desire, of 
Salem, was the harbinger, grew into grand propor- 
tions ; and for nearly two centuries poured a flood of 
wealth into New England, as well as no inconsiderable 
number of slaves. The General Court of Massachusetts 
recognized the trade as legal, imposing a duty of £4: 
per head on each negro sold in the province, with a 
drawback for those resold out of it, or dying in twelve 
months.f The weight of this duty is only evidence of. 
a desire to raise revenue, and to discourage the settle- 
ment of numbers of negroes in Massachusetts ; not of 
any disapproval of the traffick in itself, as a proper em- 
ployment" of New England enterprise. The government 
of the province preferred white servants, and was 
already aware of the unprofitable nature of African 
labour in their inhospitable climate ; but the furnish- 
ing of other colonies with negroes was a favoured 
branch of commerce. The increase of negro slaves in 
Massachusetts during the seventeenth centui-y was 
slow. But the following century changed the rcftord. 

* Moore, p. G8. tlclcra, pp. 59, 60. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 39 

In 1120, Governor Shutc states their numbers at two 
thousand. In 1754, a census of negroes gave four 
thousand five hundred ; and the first United States cen- 
sus, in 1790, i-eturned six thousand.* 

Meantime, the other maritime colonics of Rhode 
Island and Providence Plantations, and Connecticut, 
followed the example df their older sister emulously; 
and their commercial history is but a repetition of that 
of Massachusetts. The towns of Providence, Newport, 
and New Haven became famous slave trading ports. 
The magnificent harbour of the second, especially, was 
the favourite starting-place of the slave ships ; and its 
commerce rivalled, or even exceeded, that of the pres- 
ent commercial metropolis. New York. All the four 
original States, of course, became slaveholding.f 

No records exist, accessible to the historian, by 
which the numbers of slaves brought to this country 
by New England traders can be ascertained. Their 

* Moore, pp. 50, .51. 

+ Bancroft, vol. iii., ch. 24, docs justice to the crimes of England 
against the Africans, and against her own colonies ; but is absolutely- 
silent touching the complicitj' of New England ! And, as though this 
supjjressio veri were not enough, he proceeds to a studious suggestio 
falsi. Page 405th he saj's: " Of a direct voyage from Guinea to the 
coast of the United States, no journal is kno^vn to exist, though slave 
ships from Africa entered nearly every considerable harbour south of 
Newport." And, p. 410: "The English continental colonies, in the 
aggregate', were always opposed to the African slave trade." We 
have seen evidence, that Bancroft must have known that every Ameri- 
can slaver which ever entered a port of the United States, was either 
from this same Newport, or other ports north of it. We shall see 
hereafter, that he must have known also, that Massachusetts was cer- 
tainly not among that " aggregate" of the colonies which opposed the 
African slave trade. Yet, in this chapter, he endeavours expressly to 
produce that impression. See p. 408. 



49 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

operations were mingled with those of Englishmen 
from the mother country. While the total of the opera- 
tions of the latter, including their importations into tiTe 
Spanish colonies, was greatly larger than that of the 
New Englanders, the latter probably sustained at least 
an equal share of the trade to the thirteen colonies, up 
to the time of the Eevolution'; and thenceforward, to 
the year 1808, when the importations were nominally 
arrested, they carried on nearly the whole. So that the 
presence of the major part of the four millions of Afri- 
cans now in America, is due to New England. Some 
further illustrations will be given of the method and 
spirit in which that section conducted the trade. The 
number of The Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser for 
September 12th, 1163, contains the following: 

" By a gentleman who arrived here a few days ago 
from the coast of Africa, we are informed of the arri- 
vals of Captains Morris, Ferguson, and Wickham, of this 
port, who write very discouraging accounts of the 
trade upon the coast; and that upwards of two hun- 
dred gallons of real rum had been given for slaves per 
head, and scarcely to be got at any rate for that com- 
modity. This must be sensibly felt by this poor and 
distressed Oovernment, the inhabitants whereof being 
very large adventurers in the trade, having sent and about 
sending vpivards of twenty sail of vessels, computed to 
carry in the whole about nine thousand hogsheads of 
rum, a quantity much too large for the places on the 
coast, where that commodity has generally been vended. 
We hear that many vessels are also gone and going from 
the neighbouring Governments, likewise from Barba- 
does, from which place a large cargo of rum had ar- 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 41 

rived before our iiilurmaut left the coast, of wliich they 
gave two hundred and seventy g-aUous for a prime 
slave." 

When it is remembered that the Massachusetts ports 
were then small towns, the fact that they had more 
than twenty ships simultaneously engaged in the trade 
to the Guinea coast alone, clearly reveals that it was 
the leading branch of their maritime adventure, and 
main source of their wealth. The ingenuous lament of 
the printer over the increasing cost of " a prime slave," 
gives us the correct clue to the change in their views 
concerning the propriety of the trade. When the negro 
rose in value to two hundred gallons "of real rum" 
(the sable slave hunters were becoming as acute as 
Brother Jonathan himself, touching the adulterated ar- 
ticle), the conscience of the holy adventurer began to 
be disturbed about the righteousness of the traffick. 
When the slave cost two hundred and fifty gallons, the 
scruples became troublesome ; and when his price 
mounted up towards three hundred, by reason of the 
imprudence of the naughty man with his large cargo, 
from Barbadoes, the stings of conscience became intol- 
erable. By the principles of that religion which " sup- 
poseth that gain is godliness,"* the trade was now 
become clearly wrong-. 

The following extracts are from the letter of in- 
structions given by a leading Salem firm to the cap- 
tain of their ship, upon its clearing for the African 
coast :t 



* SL Paul's description of Abolitionists, 1 Tim., vi., 1-5. 
t Felt's" Salem, i:., 289, 290. 



42 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

" Captain : Our brig-, of which you have the 

command, being cleared at the office, and being in 
every other respect complete for sea, our orders are, 
that you embrace the first fair wind, and make the best 
of your way to the coa'st of Africa, and there invest 
your cargo in slaves. As slaves, when brought to mar- 
ket, like other articles, generally appear to the best ad- 
vantage ; therefore too critical an inspection cannot be 
paid to them before purchase, to see that no dangerous 
distemper is lurking about them, to attend particularly 
to their age, to their countenances, to the straightness 
of their limbs, and, as far as possible, to the goodness or 
badness of their constitution, etc., etc., will be very con- 
siderable objects. Male or female slaves, whether full 
grown or not, we cannot particularly instruct you 
about ; and on this head shall only observe that prime 
male slaves generally sell best in any market." 
****** 

" Upon your return, you will touch at St. Pierre's, 
Martinico, and call on Mr. John Mounreau for your 
further advice, and destination. We submit the con- 
ducting of the voyage to your good judgment and pru- 
dent management, not doubting of your best endeavours 
to serve our interest in all cases ; and conclude with com- 
mitting you to the almighty Disposer of all events." 

The present commercial and maniifacturing wealth of 
New England is to be traced, even more than that of 
Old England, to the proceeds of the slave trade, and 
slave labour. The capital of the former was derived 
mainly from the profits of the Guinea trade. The ship- 
ping which first earned wealth i"or its owners in carry- 
ing the bodies of the slaves, was next employed in 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 43 

transporting the cotton, tobacco, and rice which they 
reared, and the imports purchased therewith. And 
when the unjust tariff policy of the United States 
allured the next generation of New Englanders to 
invest the swollen accumula'tions of their slave trading 
fathers in factories, it was still slave grown cotton 
which kept their spindles busy. The structure of New 
England wealth is cemented with the sweat and blood 
of Africans. 

In bright contrast with its guilty cupidity, stands 
the consistent action of Virginia, which, from its veiy 
foundation as a colony, always denounced and endeav- 
oured to resist the trade. It is one of the strange 
freaks of history, that this commonwealth, which was 
guiltless in this thing, and which always presented a 
steady protest against the enormity, should become, in 
spite of herself, the home of the largest number of Afri- 
can slaves found within any of the States, and thus, 
should be held up by Abolitionists as the representa- 
tive of the " sin of slaveholding ;" while Massachu- 
setts, which was, next to England, the pioneer and 
patroness of the slave trade, and chief criminal, having 
gained for her share the wages of iniquity instead of 
the persons of the victims, has arrogated to herself the 
post of chief accuser of Virginia. It is because the lat- 
ter colony was made, in this affair, the helpless victim 
of the tyranny of Great Britain and the relentless ava- 
rice of New England. The sober evidence of history 
which will be presented, will cause the breast of the 
most deliberate reader to burn with indignation for the 
injustice suffered by Virginia, and the profound hypoc- 
risy of her detractors. 



44 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

The preamble to the State Constitution of Virginia, 
drawn up by George Mason, and adopted by the Conven- 
tion June 29th, 1776, was written by Thomas Jefferson. 
In the recital of grievances against Great Britain, 
which had prompted the commonwealth to assume its 
independence, this preamble contains the following 
words : " By prompting our negroes to rise in arms 
among us ; those very negroes whom, by an inhuman 
use of his negative, he had refused us permission to 
exclude by law."* Mr. Jefferson, long a leading mem- 
ber of the House of Bui'gcsses, and most learned of all 
his contemporaries in the legislation of his country, 
certainly knew whereof he afl&rmed. His witness is 
more than confirmed by that of Mr. Madison,f who 
says : " The British Government constantly checked 
the attempts of Virginia to put a stop to this infernal 
traJEck." Mr. Jefferson, in a passage which was ex- 
punged from the Declaration of Independence by New 
England votes in the Congress, strongly stated the 
same charge. And George Mason, perhaps the great- 
est and most influential of Virginians, next to Wash- 
ington, reiterated the accusation with equal strength, 
in the speech in the Federal Convention, 178t, in which 
he urged the immediate prohibition of the slave trade by 
the United States. See Madison Papers, vol. iii., pp. 
1388-1398. A learned Virginian antiquary has found, 
notwithstanding the destruction of the appropriate evi- 
dences, which will be explained anon, no less than 
twenty-eight several attempts made by the Burgesses 
to arrest the evil by their legislation, all of which were 

* Code of Virginia, p. 36. t Madison Papers, iii., 1390. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 45 

either suppressed or negatived by the proprietary or 
royal authority. A learned and pious Huguenot divine, 
having planted his family in the colony, in the first half 
of the last century, bears this testimony: "But our 
Assembly, foreseeing the ill consequences of importing 
such numbers among us, hath often attempted to lay a 
duty upon them which would amount to a prohibition, 
such as ten or twenty pounds a head ; but no governor 
dare pass such a law, having instructions to the con- 
trary from the Board of Trade at home. By this means 
they are forced upon us, whether we will or not. This 
plainly shows the African Company hath the advantage 
of the colonies, and may do as it pleases with the min- 
istry."* These personal testimonies are recited the 
more carefully, because the Vandalism of the British 
officers at the Revolution annihilated that regular doc- 
umentary evidence, to which the appeal might other- 
wise be made. Governor Dunmore firsts and afterwards 
Colonel Tarleton and Earl Cornwallis, carried off and 
destroyed all the archives of the colony which they 
could seize, and among them the whole of the original 
journals of the House of Burgesses, except the volumes 
containing* the proceedings of It 69 and 1*112. The only 
sure knowledge which remains of those precious rec- 
ords is derived fi'om other documents and fragmentary 
copies of some passages, found afterwards in the desks 
of a few citizens. The wonderfully complete collection 
of tlieir laws edited by Hening, under the title of 
" Statutes at Large," was drawn from copies and col- 
lections of the acts which, having received the assent 

* Rev. P. Fontaine, Huguenot Familj', pp. 348, 351. 



46 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

of the governors and kings, were promulgated to the 
counties as actual law. Of course the suppressed and 
negatived motions against the slave trade are not to be 
sought t.mong these, but could only have been found in 
the lost journals of the House. But enough of the 
documentary evidence remains, to substantiate triumph- 
antly the testimony of individuals. 

The first act touching the importation of slaves, 
which was allowed by the royal governor and king, 
was that of the 11th William' III., 1699, laying an im- 
post of twenty shillings upon each servant or African 
slave imported. The motive assigned is the raising 
of a revenue to rebuild the Capitol or State House, 
lately burned down ; and tlie law was limited to three 
years.* This impost was renewed for two farther 
terms of three years, by subsequent Assemblies.! Be- 
fore the expiration of this period, the Assembly of 1105 
laid a permanent duty of sixpence per head on all pas- 
sengers and slaves entering the colony; J and this 
little burthen, the most which the jealousy of the Brit- 
ish slave traders would permit, was the germ of the 
future taxes on the importation. This impost was 
increased by the Assembly of 1732, to a duty of five 
per centum ad valorem, for four years.§ Subsequent 
Assemblies continued this tax until lt40, and then 
doubled it, on the plea of the war then existing. || 
During the remainder of the colonial government, the 
impost remained at this grade, ten per centum on the 
price of the slaves, and twenty per centum upon those 

* Heuing, Stat, at Large, vol. iii., p. 193. % Idem, pp. 346, 493. 
t Idem, pp. 213, 233. § Hening, vol. iv., p. 319. 

11 Hening, iv., 394, and v., 29, 93, IGO, 318. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 47 

imported from Maryland or Carolina. As the all- 
powerful African Company in England was not con- 
cerned in maintaining a transit of the slaves from one 
colony to another, after they were once off their hands, 
they permitted the Burgesses to do as they pleased 
with the Maryland and Carolina importations. Here, 
therefore, we have an unconfined expression of the sen- 
timents of the Assemblies ; and they showed their fixed 
opposition to the trade by imposing what was virtually 
a prohibitory duty. In lt69, the House of Burgesses 
passed an act for raising the duty on all slaves im- 
ported, to twenty per centumJ^ The records of the 
Executive Department show that this law was vetoed 
by the king, and declared repealed by a proclamation 
of William Nelson, President of the Council, April 3d, 
1711. The Assembly of 1772 passed the same law 
again, with the substitution of a duty of £5 per head, in- 
stead of the twenty /)er centum, on slaves from Maryland 
aud Carolina ;t and it received the signature of Gov- 
ernor Dunmore. It may well be doubted whether it 
escaped the royal veto. 

But the House now proceeded to a more direct effort 
to extinguish the nefarious traflSck, Friday, March 
20th, 1772, it was J 'j_Eesolved, that an humble address 
be prepared to be presented to his Majesty, to express 
the high opinion we entertain of his benevolent inten- 
tions towards his subjects in the colonies, and that we 
are thereby induced to ask his paternal assistance in 
averting a calamity of a most alarming nature ; that 
the importation of negroes from Africa has long been 

* Hening, viii., 336. t Idem, 531. % House JoumaL 



48 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

considered as a trade of great inhumanity, and under 
its present encouragement may endanger the existence 
of his American dominions ; that self-preservation, 
therefore, urges us to implore him to remove all re- 
straints on his Governors from passing acts of Assem- 
bly which are intended to check this pernicious com- 
merce ; and that we presume to hope the interests of a 
few of his subjects in Great Britain will be disregarded, 
when such a number of his people look up to him for 
protection in a point so essential ; that when our duty 
calls upon us to make application for his attention to 
the welfare of this, his antient colony, we cannot re- 
frain from renewing those professions of loyalty and 
affection we have so often, with great sincerity, made, 
or from assuring him that we regard his wisdom and 
virtue as the surest pledges of the happiness of his 
people." 

" Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw 
up an address to be presented to his Majesty, upon the 
said resolution." And a Committee was appointed of 
Mr. Harrison, Mr. Carey, Mr. Edmund Pendleton, Mr. 
Richard Henry Lee, Mr. Treasurer, and Mr. Bland. 

" Wednesday, April 1st, 1112 : Mr. Harrison reported 
from the Committee appointed upon Friday, the twen- 
tieth day of last month, to draw up an address to be 
presented to his Majesty, that the Committee had drawn 
up an address accordingly, which they had directed 
him to report to the House ; and he read the same in 
his place ; which is as followeth," etc. The address is 
so nearly in the words of the resolution, that the reader 
need not be detained by its repetition. The House 
agreed, nemine contradicente, to the address, and the 



THE AFRICAN" SLAVE TRADE. 49 

same Committee was appointed to present an address 
to the Governor, asking him to transmit the address to 
his Majesty, " and to support it in such manner as he 
shall think most likely to promote the desirable end 
proposed." This earnest appeal met the fate of all the 
previous : Mammon and the African Company were 
still paramount at Court, over humanity and right. 
But the Kevolution was near at hand, bringing a dif- 
ferent redress for the grievance. 

On the 15th of May, 1176, Virginia declared her in- 
dependence of Great Britain, and the Confederacy, fol- 
lowing her example, issued its declaration on the 4th 
of July of the same year. The strict blockade observed 
by the British navy, of course arrested the i'oreign 
slave trade, as well as all other commerce. But in 
1118, the State of Virginia, determined to provide in 
good time against the resumption of the traflBck when 
commerce should be reopened, gave final expression 
to her will against it. At the General Assembly held 
October 5th, Patrick Henry being Governor of the Com- 
monwealth, the following law was the first passed : 

AN ACT FOR PREVENTING THE FARTHER IMPORTATION OF 
SLAVES.* 

" I. For preventing the farther importation of slaves 
into this Commonwealth : Be it enacted by the General 
Assembly, That from and after the passing of this act, 
no slave or slaves shall hereafter be imported into this 
Commonwealth by sea or land, nor shall any slaves so 
imported be bought or solS by any person whatsoever. 

* Hening, v. ix., p. 471. 
3 



50 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

" II. Every person hereafter importing slaves into 
this Commonwealth contrary to this act, shall forfeit 
and pay the sum of one thousand pounds for every 
slave so imported, and every person selling or buying- 
any such slaves, shall in like manner forfeit and pay the 
sum of five hundred pounds for every slave so bought 
or sold, one moiety of which forfeitures shall be to the 
use of the Commonwealth, and the other moiety to him 
or them that will sue for the same, to be recovered by 
action of debt or information in any court of record. 

" III. And be it further enacted, That every slave im- 
ported into this Commonwealth, contrary to the true 
intent and meaning of this act, shall, upon such im- 
portation, become free." 

The remaining sections of the law only proceed to 
exempt from the penalty citizens of the other United 
States, coming to live as actual residents with their 
slaves in the Commonwealth, and citizens of Virginia 
bringing in slaves from other States of the Union by 
actual inheritance. 

Thus Virginia has the honour of being the first Com- 
monwealth on earth to declare against the African 
slave trade, and to make it a penal ofience. Her action 
antedates by thirty years the much bepraised legisla- 
tion of the British Parliament, and by ten years the 
earliest movement of Massachusetts on the subject ; 
while it has the immense advantage, besides, of consist- 
ency ; because she was never stained by any complicity 
in the trade, and she exercised her earliest untram- 
melled power to stay its evils effectually in her domin- 
ions. Thus, almost before the Clarksons and Wilber- 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 51 

forces were born, had Virginia done that very work for 
which her slanderers now pretend so much to laud 
those philanthropists. All that these reformers needed 
to do was to bid the British Government ^o and imi- 
tate the example which Virginia was the first to set, 
among the kingdoms of the world. It is true that the 
first Congress of 11T4, at Philadelphia, had adopted a 
resolution that the slave trade ought to cease ; but this 
body had no powers, either federal or national ; it was 
a mere committee ; and its inspiration upon this subject, 
as upon most others, came from Virginia. In 1*188, Mas- 
sachusetts passed an act forbidding her citizens from 
importing, transporting, buying, or selling any of the 
inhabitants of Africa as slaves, on a penalty of fifty 
pounds for each person so misused, and of two hundred 
pounds for every vessel employed in this traffick. Ves- 
sels which had already sailed were exempted from all 
penalty for their present voyages.* It is manifest from 
the character of the penalties, that this law was not 
passed to be enforced ; and the evidence soon to be 
addifced will show, beyond all doubt, that this is true. 
The act was one of those cheap tributes which Phari- 
saic avarice knows so well how to pay to appearances. 
Connecticut passed a very similar law the same year, 
prohibiting her citizens to engage in the slave trade, 
and voiding the policies of insurance on slave ships. 
The slave trade of New England continued in increas- 
ing activity for twenty years longer. 

It may be said, that if the government of Virginia 
was opposed to the African slave trade, her people pur- 

* Moore, Hist, of Slavery in Mass., p. 327. 



62 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

chased more of its victims than those of any other col- 
ony; and the aphorism may be quoted against them, 
that the receiver is as guilty as the thief. This is 
rai'ely true ii^the case of individuals, and when applied 
to communities, it is notoriously false. All States con- 
tain a large number of irresponsible persons. The 
character of a free people as a whole should be esti- 
mated by that of its corporate acts, in which the com- 
mon will is expressed. The individuals who purchased 
slaves of the traders were doubtless actuated by various 
motives. Many persuaded themselves that, as they 
were already enslaved, and without their agency, and 
as their refusal to purchase them would have no effect 
whatever to procure their restoration to their own coun- 
try and to liberty, they might become their owners, 
without partaking in the wrong of which they were 
the victims. Many were prompted by genuine compas- 
sion, because they saw that to buy the miserable crea- 
tures was the only practicable way in their reach to 
rescue them from their pitiable condition ; for tradition 
testifies that often when the captives were exposecf in 
long ranks upon the shore, near their floating pris- 
ons, for the inspection of purchasers, they besought the 
planters and their wives to buy them, and testified an 
extravagant joy and gratitude at the event. All pur- 
chasers were, perhaps, influenced partly by the con- 
venience and advantage of possessing their labour. 
Had every individual in Virginia been as intelligent 
and virtuous as the patriots who, in the Burgesses, 
denounced the inhuman trafiSck, the colony might per- 
haps have remained without a slave, notwithstanding 
the two centuries of temptation during which its ports 



THE AFKICAN SLAVE TRADE. 53 

were plied with cargoes seeking sale. But a common- 
wealth without a single weak, or selfish, or bad man, 
is a Utopia. The proper rulers were forbidden by the 
mother country to employ that prohibitory legislation 
which is, in all States, the necessary guardian of the pub- 
lick virtue ; and it is therefore that we place the guilt 
of the sale where that of the importation justly belongs. 
Doubtless many an honourable citizen, after sincerely 
sustaining the endeavour of his Burgess to arrest the 
whole trade, himself purchased Africans, because he 
saw that their general inti'oduction into the country 
was inevitable, without legislative interference ; and 
his self-denial would only have subjected him to the 
severe inconveniences of being without slaves in a 
community of slaveholders, whilst it did not arrest the 
evil. 

The government of Virginia was unquestionably 
actuated, in prohibiting the slave trade, by a sincere 
sense of its intrinsic injustice and cruelty. Mr. Jeffer- 
son, a representative man, in his " Notes on Virginia," 
had given indignant expression to this sentiment. And 
the reprobation of that national wrong, with regret for 
the presence of the African on the soil, was the uni- 
versal feeling of that generation which succeeded the 
Revolution ; while they firmly asserted the rightfulness 
of that slavery which they had inherited. But human 
motives are always complex ; and along with the moral 
disapprobation for the crime against Africa, the Bur- 
gesses felt other motives, which, although more per- 
sonal, were right and proper. They were sober, wise, 
and practical men, who felt that to protect the rights, 
purity, and prosperity of their own country and pos- 



54: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

terity, was more properly their task, than to plead the 
wrongs of a distant and alien people, great although 
those wrongs might be. They deprecated the slave 
trade, because it was peopling their soil so largely 
with an inferior and savage race, incapable of union, 
instead of with civilized Englishmen. This was pre- 
cisely their apprehension of the enormous wrong done 
the colony by the mother country. They understood 
also the deep political motive which combined with the 
lust of gain to prompt the relentless policy of the Home 
Government. With it, the familiar argument was : 
" Let us stock the plantations plentifully with Africans, 
not only that they may be good customers for our man- 
ufactures, and producers for our commerce ; but that 
they may remain dependent and submissive. An Eng- 
lishman who emigrates, becomes the bold assertor of 
popular and colonial rights ; but the negro is only fit 
for bondage." For the same reason, the colonies felt 
that the forcing of the Africans upon them was as 
much a political as a social wrong. But that righteous 
Providence, whose glory it is to make the crimes of the 
designing their own punishment, employed African 
slavery in the Southern colonies as a potent influence 
in forming the character of the Southern gentleman, 
without whose high spirit, independence, and chivalry, 
America would never have won her freedom from Brit- 
ish rule. 

This contrast between the policy and principles of 
Virginia and of the New England colonies will be con- 
cluded with two evidences. The one is presented in 
the history of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. 
Jeflerson, the author, states that he had inserted in the 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 55 

enumeration of grievances against the King of Great 
Britain, a paragraph strongly reprobating his arbitrary- 
support of the slave trade, against the remonstrances of 
some of the colonies. When the Congress discussed 
the paper, this paragraph was struck out, "in com- 
plaisance," he declares, " to South Carolina and Geor- 
gia, who had never attempted to restrain the importa- 
tion of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to 
continue it. Our Northern brethren also, I believe, felt 
a little tender under these censures ; for though their 
people had very few slaves themselves, yet they had 
been pretty considerable carriers of them to others."* 
Thus New England assisted to expunge from that im- 
mortal paper a testimony against the slave trade, 
which Virginia endeavoured to place there. 

The other evidence is presented by a case much more 
practical. In the Convention of 1787, which framed the 
Constitution of the United States, two questions con- 
cerning African slaves caused dissension. Upon the 
supreme right of the States over the whole subject of 
slavery within their own dominions, upon the recogni- 
tion of slaves as property protected by the federal 
laws, wherever slavery existed, and upon the fugitive 
slave law, not a voice was raised in opposition. But 
the Convention presumed (what subsequent history did 
not confirm,) that the main expenses of the federal 
government would be met by direct taxation ; and 
some principle was to be adopted, for determining how 
slaves should rank with freemen, in assessing capita- 
tion taxes, and apportioning representation. The other 

* Jefferson's Correspondence, voL i., p. 15. 



66 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

question of diiBculty was the suppression of the African 
slave trade, which, upon the return of peace, had been 
actively revived by New England, with the connivance 
of Carolina and Georgia. The Southern States, who 
expected to have nearly the whole tax on slaves to 
pay, desired to rate them very low ; some members pro- 
posed that five slaves should count as equal to only one 
white freeman ; others, that three slaves should count 
for one. The New England colonies generally desired 
to make a negro count as a white man, both for repre- 
sentation and taxation I After much difference, the 
majority of the Convention agreed to a middle conclu- 
sion proposed by Mr. Madison, that five negroes should 
count for three persons.* But the other question was 
not so easily arranged. The Committee of eleven ap- 
pointed to draw up a first draught of a constitution had 
proposed that in Art. vii., § 4, of their draught. Con- 
gress should be prohibited from laying any import duty 
on African slaves brought into the country. The effect 
of this, so far as the federal government was concerned, 
would be to legalize the slave trade forever, and pro- 
tect it from all burdens.f Maryland (by her legisla- 
ture, then sitting, )* to her immortal honour, and Penn- 
sylvania and Virginia, exhibited a determination to 
change this section, so as to arrest the trade through 
the action of the federal government, either by prohibi- 
tion or tax. The New England States, South Carolina, 
and Georgia, opposed them, and advocated the original 
section, assigning various grounds. The difference 
threatened to make shipwreck of the whole work of 

* Madison Papers, v. i., pp. 433-425. t Ibid., v. ii., p. 1234. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 57 

the Convention, when Gouverneur Morris adroitly pro- 
posed to commit the subject, along with that of the 
proposed navigation law, in order that disagreeing 
parties might be induced, by private conference, to 
combine mutual concessions into a sort of bargain. 
The subjects were accordingly committed to a Commit- 
tee of one from each State. This Committee reported, 
August 24th, " in favour of not allowing Congress to 
prohibit the importation of slaves before 1800, but giv- 
ing them power to impose a duty at a rate not exceed- 
ing the average of other imports." South Carolina 
(through General Pinckney) moved to prolong the 
importation from 1800 to 1808, and Massachusetts 
(through Mr. Gorham) seconded the motion. It was 
then passed, as last proposed, Neiv Hamjyshire, Massa- 
chusetts, Connecticut, (the only New England States 
then present,) Maryland, North Carolina, and South 
Carolina, voting in the affirmative, and New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia in the negative.* 
The maritime States soon after gained their point, of 
authorizing Congress to pass, by a majority vote, a 
navigation law for their advantage. 

Thus, by the assistance of New England, the iniqui- 
ties of the African slave trade, and the influx of that 
alien and savage race into America, were prolonged 
from the institution of the federal government until 
1808. Is it said, that New England had at this time 
no interest in slavery, did not value it, and was already 
engaged in removing it at home ? This is true ; and it 
is so much the worse for her historical position. It 

* Madison Papers, v. iii., pp. 1398 ct seq. 
3* 



58 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

only shows that she desired to fix that institution which 
she had ascertained to be a curse to her, upon her 
neighbours, for the sake of keeping open twenty years 
longer an infamous but gainful employment, and of 
securing a legislative bounty to her shipping. In other 
words, her policy was simply mercenary. And these 
votes for prolonging the slave trade effectually rob her 
of credit for emancipation at home ; proving beyond 
all peradventure, that the latter measure was wholly 
prompted by her sense of her own interests, and not of 
the rights of the negro. For if the latter motive had 
governed, must it not have made her the equal oppo- 
nent of the increase of slavery in Carolina and Georgia ? 
But the agency of New England in that increase was 
still more active and direct. As though to " make hay 
while the sun shone," the people of that section renewed 
their activity on the African coast, with a diligence 
continually increasing up to 1808. Carey, in his work 
upon the slave trade, estimates the importations into 
the thirteen colonies between l*Itl and 1790, (nineteen 
years,) at thirty-four thousand; but that between the 
institution of the federal government and 1808, he 
places at seventy thousand. His estimate here is un- 
questionably far too low ; because forty thousand were 
introduced at the port of Charleston, South Carolina, 
alone, the last four years;* and within the years 1806 
and 1807, there were six hundred arrivals of New Eng- 
land slavers at that place.f The latter fact shows that 
those States must have possessed nearly the whole 
traffick. And the former bears out Mr. De Bow, in en- 

* Dc Bow, Compcnd. of Census, 1850, pp. 83,^4. + Com. Boutwell. 



THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. 59 

larging the total of importations under the federal gov- 
ernment to one hundred and twenty-five thousand, at 
least. For the average at one port was ten thousand 
per year. In 1860, there were ten-fold as many Africans 
in the United States as had been originally brought 
thither from Africa. But as many of these had been 
multiplying for four, or even five generations, this 
rate of increase is too large to assume for the importa- 
tions of 1800, whose descendants had only come to the 
third generation. Assuming the half as nearly correct, 
which seems a moderate estimate, we find their increase 
five-fold. So that there were, in 1860, six hundred and 
twenty-five thousand more slaves in the United States 
than would have been found here, had not New Eng- 
land's cruelty and avarice assisted to prolong the slave 
trade nineteen years after Virginia and the federal 
government would otherwise have arrested it. 

After the British, and even after the other govern- 
ments of Europe, had abolished the trade in name, it 
continued with a vast volume. Whereas at the time of 
the abolition, in 1808, eighty-five thousand slaves were 
taken from Africa annually, nearly fifty thousand an- 
nually were still carried, as late as 1847, to Brazil and 
the Spanish Indies.* In this illicit trade, no Virginian 
(and, indeed, no Southern) ship or shipmaster has ever 
been in a single case implicated, although our State 
had meantime begun no inconsiderable career of mari- 
time adventure. But adventurers from New England 
ports and New York were continually found sharing 
the lion's portion of the foul spoils. And to the latest 

* De Bow, p. 84. 



60 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

reclamations of the British Government upon the Bra- 
zilian, for violations of the treaties and laws against 
the slave trade upon the extended shores of that em- 
pire, the answer of its noble Emperor has still been, 
that if Britain would find the real culprits, she must go 
to the ports of Boston and New York to seek them.* 

But one more fact remains: When the late Confederate 
Government adopted a constitution, although it was 
composed exclusively of slaveholding States, it volun- 
tarily did what the United States has never done : it 
placed an absolute prohibition of the foreign slave 
trade in its organic law. 

* Journal do Commercio, (Rio,) May 26, 1856. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 61 



CHAPTER IIL- 

LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES. 

It has been a favourite and persistent assertion of 
Abolitionists, that slavery in America was an excep- 
tional institution, and contrary to the law of nature 
and nations. They represent it as owing its exist- 
ence solely to the lex loci of the States where it was 
legalized by their own legislation ; and hence they 
draw the conclusion, that the moment a slave passed 
out of one of these States into a free State, or into the 
territories of the United States, his bondage terminated 
of itself. Hence, also, they argue that slaveholders 
had no right to the protection of that species of prop- 
erty in the territories, which were the common posses- 
sion of the citizens of all the States ; and that the fed- 
eral government could not properly permit the growth 
of, or recognize, new slave States. Their party cry 
was : " Freedom is national ; slavery is local." It is 
plain that this proposition is the premise necessary to 
all the above assumptions. It will now be shown that 
this proposition is untrue. Slavery in the United 
States, instead of being the mere creature of lex loci, 
was founded on a basis as broad as that of the Ameri- 
can Union, was in full accordance with the law of na- 
ture and nations as then recognized by the States and 



62 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the federal government, and had universal recognition 
by the force of general law. The exclusion of slavery 
from any State was legally the exception, owing its 
validity purely to the lex loci, and to the recognized 
sovereignty of the States over their own local aflfairs. 
Hence, the rights, of slaveholders stood valid, of course, 
in all the common territories of the United States, and 
everywhere, save where the sovereignty of a non- 
slaveholding State arrested them within its own bor- 
ders. This representation is established by the follow- 
ing facts : 

First. When the federal government was formed, all 
the family of European nations was slaveholdin^ ; and 
they all alike held the Africans as unquestioned and 
legitimate subjects of bondage. The slave trade was 
held by pxiblick law as legitimate as the trade in corn. 
It was the subject of treaty stipulations between the 
several powers ; and slave trading companies were 
formally chartered and protected by all the leading 
powers. Slaves were declared by the English judges 
to be merchandise.* They were universally held legal 
prize of war when taken on the high seas.f They were 
recognized subjects of reclamation in forming and exe- 
cuting treaties. Thus, not to go outside of our own 
history, we find General Washington, in 1*183, by order 
of Congress, remonstrating with the British commander 
evacuating New York city, because certain officers of 
the retiring forces carried away with them the fugitive 
slaves of American citizens ; and the latter was com- 



* Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 414. 

t Moore's Hist, of Slavery in Mass., p. 163. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 63 

pelled to surrender the attempt, as an unauthorized 
spoliation of property* In 1788, the Grovernment of 
the United States claimed of Spain the return of fugi- 
tive slaves from the Spanish colony of Florida ;f and 
our government promised, in return, the rendition of 
Spanish slaves found in the United States. It is well 
known that the treaty of the United States with Great 
Britain, negotiated by Mr. Jay, and ratified by Presi- 
dent Washington, and the treaty of Ghent, in 1815, 
both secured indemnities for slaves of American citi- 
zens abducted during the two wars ; thus treating them 
as property under the protection of national law in 
America, and of the law of nations. In face of this 
array of facts, we boldly ask, with what face it can be 
asserted that slavery was not recognized by ihterna- 
tional law? Whether it is not as consonant with the' 
law of nature as of nations, will appear at another 
place. 

Second. During the whole planting and growth of the 
British colonies in America, and at the time when they 
passed from that government into the federal Union, 
the Empire of Great Britain was slaveholding in all its 
parts. The obvious consequence is, that the govern- 
ment formed by the thirteen colonies in a part of the 
territory of that empire, inherited the legal condition of 
their mother, in this particular. In seceding from that 
empire, they brought away the slaveholding status; and 
this subsisted ipso facto, except where it was changed 
by the lex loci. All the original territory of the Ameri- 
can Union was slave territory, as was that subse- 

* Justice Campbell, in Howard, IQth, Dred Scott Case. t Idem. 



64 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

queutly acquired from France. Hence slave owners of 
course possessed their rights in all this territory, unless 
they were expressly restrained by special legislation 
of the States, sovereign each one within its own bor- 
ders. The consequence cannot be denied, if the prem- 
ise be admitted. Let the reader consider the following 
evidences of it : 

In 1172, only four years before the Declaration of 
Independence, Lord Mansfield, in the Court of King's 
Bench, decided the famous Somersett case, by which, it 
has usually been asserted, slavery was forever termi- 
nated in England, and the principle was settled that 
this relation was inconsistent with her free laws. Mr. 
Stewart, a citizen of Virginia, going to England on 
business, carried with him a negro slave, Somersett, 
whom he had bought in Jamaica. After a time he 
indicated a purpose to return home, carrying his slave 
with him ; whereupon the negro absconded. His 
master had him seized, and placed on board a ship 
in the Thames, to be forcibly carried to Jamaica and 
sold. The negro then sued out an application for 
habeas corpus, which being argued at a previous term, 
was finally decided by Lord Mansfield, at the Trinity 
term, 17*12. The true extent of that decision will here- 
after be shown. Our purpose here is to cite the admis- 
sions made by the court, as to the existing state of 
English laws.* It is noticeable, that this tribunal ex- 
hibited a great reluctance to decide the case, declaring 
that it was attended with great, and almost inextrica- 



* See, on all the following statements from Lord Mansfield, Lofft's 
Reports, 12th Geo. 3d, pp. 1, 8, 17, 18, etc. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 65. 

ble difiBculties, and that Lord Mansfield proposed to 
evade a decision by recommending' a compromise be- 
tween Mr, Stewart and the black. This not being- 
done, the court stated that there were then fifteen 
thousand negro slaves in England, worth not less 
than seven hundred thousand pounds sterling. It 
also recognized the decisions of Sir Philip Yorke, and 
Lord Chief Justice Talbot, confirmefl in lt49, by that 
of the chancellor, Lord Hardewicke, that if a slave, 
brought by his master to England, should be detained 
from him, an action of trover for his recovery would 
lie ; and the decision of Lord Talbot, that a negro 
slave brought by his master to England from a col- 
ony, or baptized by the clergy, did not thereby gain 
his liberty; and the opinion of the latter that while 
the Statute of Tenures had abolished manorial villein- 
age, a white man might still become a villein in gross, 
by the laws of England.* The court declared farther, 
that the slave property of a debtor was undoubtedly 
liable to action in the English courts, to recover the 
sums due a creditor. But after all these admissions, 
which clearly amount to a recognition of the fact 
that England itself was then by law a slaveholding 
country, Lord Mansfield proceeds to settle the princi- 
ple (the only one, as he carefully declares, to which 
his decision extends) that the power of the writ of 



* What the villein iti gross was, may be learned from the followino;, 
of Bracton, Lib. iv., 208: 

" Purum villcnagium est, a quo priestatur servilium incertum et 
indeterminatum ; ubi scire non potest vcspere, quale servitium fieri 
debet mane, viz., ubi quis facere tenetur quicquid ei prseceptum fuit." 
See also Blacketone, Lib. ii., 93. 



6Q A DEFEliCE OF VIRGINIA. 

habeas corpus, not being limited to free persons by 
express statute, should, as he thinks, in England be 
extended to slaves, when they invoke it, and should be 
held to override the rights of the master under the 
laws ; because those rights were now regai'ded as 
odious and excessive by current publick opinion. 
Such, and no more, is the extent of this much be- 
praised, and mu^h misunderstood decision ! It is 
plain to common sense, that if it is not an instance of 
the judicial abuse of making, instead of expounding, 
law, it only establishes the fact that the laAvs of slave- 
holding England were then in a ridiculously inconsist- 
ent state. 

In fact, not only were there then fifteen thousand 
negro slaves in England, but they were publickly 
bought and sold in the markets of London. The preva- 
lence of slavery is attested by another species of his- 
torical evidence, very different from that of learned 
judges, but at least as authentick. The pictures by 
which Hogarth has fixed the follies and peculiarities of 
fashionable life on his immortal canvass, frequently 
contain the African valet ; showing that the possession 
of this species of servants was demanded by high life. 
From the Normans, those noted slaveholders, to 1175, 
no statute had been passed upon the subject of personal 
slavery.* There then existed, in the northern part of 
the kingdom of Great Britain, from thirty thousand to 
forty thousand persons, of whom the Parliament said, 
" Many colliers, coal-heavers, and salters, are in a state 
of slavery, or bondage, bound to the collieries or salt- 

* Justice Campbell, on Drcd Scott case, 19th Howard, 109. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVEEY. " 67 

works where they work, for life, transferable with the 
collieries and salt-works, when their original masters 
have no use for them."* Again in 1199, they declare 
that " many colliers and coal-heavers still continue in 
a state of bondage." 

Thus it appears that England was itself slave terri- 
tory, at the time the thirteen colonies, declaring their 
independence, brought away her laws and institutions. 
But our argument of this fact is ex ahundantia ; it may 
be waived, and still our conclusion holds, because, by 
existing laws, all the plantations and colonies of Eng- 
land in America were then, yet more indisputably, 
slave territot-y. No stronger proof of this proposition 
can be imagined, than the manner in which slavery was 
planted in these communities. Not only were all the 
thirteen colonies, and all the West India plantations, 
slaveholding ; but it required no statute, either of Par- 
liament or of colonial legislature, to introduce African 
slavery, or to establish the right of the owner, because 
it was already established by imperial law and usage. 
The first negroes were bought in Virginia in 1620 ; the 
first act touching their bondage was passed by the 
Burgesses in 1659 ; and this does not enact their slav- 
ery, but recognizes it as existing. It was not imtil 
16tO,t that any law was passed which expressly en- 
acted their slavery. But for fifty years they had been 
unquestioned slaves, had paid impost duty as such, had 
been bought and sofd, had been bequeathed, had been 
subject of suits. By what law ? Obviously by the 



* Parliament, 15th Geo. 3d. 

+ Honing, Stat, at Large, vol. ii., p. SS3. 



68* A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

general law of the British Empire, and of nations. The 
manner of the introduction of slavery into Massachu- 
setts was the same. "The involuntary servitude of 
Indians and negroes in the several colonies originated 
under a law not promulgated by legislation, and rested 
upon prevalent views of universal jurisprudence, or the 
law of nations, supported by the express or implied 
a^ithority of the Home Government."* But the 
" canny" Puritans, more careful than the Virginians to 
fortify their slave property, enacted slavery of both 
classes, in their earliest codes of laws, 1641 and 1660.f 
That African slavery was the universal law of the 
British colonial empire, is equally plain from the facts 
already given concerning the legalizing of the slave 
trade. The treaty of Utrecht secured to Britain a 
monopoly of that traffick. The Tarliament chartered 
the African Company, with the right to trade in slaves 
to all the colonies. The Parliament then by statute 
threw the trade open to all British subjects. The Par- 
liament, by express law, made the property in slaves 
held in the colonies subject of action in English courts. 
The Solicitor-General, with Chancellor after Chancellor, 
decided that residence in England did not emancipate 
the slave upon his return to his colonial home. The 
General Court of Massachusetts enacted the same rule, 
as did the Burgesses of Virginia, again and again ; 
and were never disallowed therein by the king. Even 
so late as 182T, fifty-five years after the Somersett case, 
Lord Stowell decided, in the case of the slave Grace, 



* Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage, § 216, i., 225. 
+ Moore, Slavery in Mass., pp. 13, 15. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 69 

from Antigua, that on her return to the colony, her 
condition as a slave for life was fully revived * And 
in the correctness of this decision, we find Mr. Justice 
Story concurring.^ 

The argument then is, that at the American Revolu- 
tion all the territory claimed by the thirteen colonies 
was, by the law of the Empire, and of nations, slave- 
holding territory. The colonies, in assuming their 
ind'ependence, brought away the rights and institutions 
which they had inherited as colonial parts of that 
empire ; and whatever prescriptive right was not 
expressly changed by law, was universally held to 
survive, as of course. Hence all the territory of the 
American Union was slave territory ; and the only 
mode by which any part became non-slaveholding, was 
by the exercise of State sovereignty enacting a lex loci, 
which was only operative within the bounds of the 
State itself. 

Third. The chief territory which the United States 
acquired between the Revolution and the Mexican war, 
was Louisiana. This vast region was gained by treaty 
from France in 1803. It was then a single province 
and government of the French Republick, and was, 
through all its fetent, a slaveholding country. In the 
third article of the treaty for its purchase, between the 
United States and the First Consul, it was stipulated 
that until the ceded territory should be incorporated, as 
States, in the Union, all its citizens should be " in the 
mean time maintained and protected in the free enjoy- 
ment of their liberty, property, and the religion which 

* 2d Haggard, p. 94. t Letter to Lord Stowell. 



70 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

they profess." The settled doctrine of the courts of 
Louisiana has always been, that this guarantee cov- 
ered all the citizens emigrating into any part of the 
territory before its er(?ction into a State, as fully as 
those living in Louisiana in 1803.* Thus, the rights of 
slave owners in the whole of the Louisiana piirchase 
were guaranteed to them by treaty, until such time as 
the part they inhabited became a sovereign State, and 
thus assumed plenary power over the subject. But, by 
Article 6th, § 2d, of the Constitution of the United 
States, all treaties made by the authority of the United 
States arc declared to be the supreme law of the land. 
Thus the rights of the master in all this region were 
placed above the power of the legislature itself. 

Fourth. The federal constitution recognized and pro- 
tected property in slaves, in every way which was 
competent to a federative comp^t of this kind. The 
slaveholding States had representation for three-fifths 
of their slaves. The slaves were made subjects of di- 
rect taxation, as property. The constitution provided 
expressly for a fugitive slave law, which was soon 
passed by the Congi-ess, and continued to be the law of 
the land until the termination of the government. By 
the constitution, property in slaves was treated like any- 
other property; and no ground can be found for the as- 
sertion that its rights were more restricted than rights 
in cattle or lands. But the fundamental idea of that in 
strument was the impartial equality of all the citizens 
before the law. Whatever authority Congress had over 
the common territories, was as trustee for all the citi- 

* Justice Catron, 19th Howard, p. 131. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. Yl 

zens of the United States equally. Hence it seems ob- 
vious that this body was bound to recognize in all the 
citizens equal rights, in going into those territories with 
any species of property which they might hold by the 
laws of any State, or of Congress, and to protect them 
in those rights while the country was in a territorial 
condition. 

Finally, these principles have been expressly decided 
by the highest constitutional authority in the land, as 
well as by the voice of the most enlightened founders 
of the government. AVhen the mischievous contest con- 
cerning the admission of Missouri was rising in 1819, 
Mr. Madison declared, concerning the article of the con- 
stitution which conferred on Congress its powers over 
the territories, (Art. 4, § 3,) that " it cannot be well ex- 
tended beyond a power over the territories as property, 
and the power to make provisions really needful or 
necessary for the government of settlers, until • ripe 
for admission into the Union."* The Supremo Court of 
the United States, in the well-known case of Dred Scott, 
decided that Africans were not citizens of the United 
States in the meaning of the constitution ;f that prop- 
erty in African slaves^ was on the same footing under 
that instrument with other legal property; J that the 
residence of a slave in a territory of the United States 
did not emancipate him, nor did his residence in a non- 
slaveholding State for a time, prevent the recurrence 
of his state of bondage, on his return to the State in 
which he had been a slave ;§ and that Congress had no 



* Letter to Robert Walsh, Nov. 27, 1819. 1 19tli Howard, p. 57. 
1 19tli Howard, pp. 12, 33. § Ibid., p. 38, 58. 



72 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

power to use its authority to exclude slavery from any 
part of the territories.* 

Thus the main proposition with which we set out is 
abundantly sustained by the history and legislation of 
the country. Three evasions from this conclusion have 
been attempted, of which the first is from the language 
of the Declaration of Independence, in which these fa- 
mous words occur : " We hold these truths to be self- 
evident : that all men are created equal ; that they are 
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 
rights ; that among them are life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit o^ happiness," etc. The inference is, that the Dec- 
laration intended to imply that the slavery of the Afri- 
cans was a natural wrong incapable of being legalized ; 
and it is claimed that this document is of the organic 
force of constitutional law to the confederation which 
then asserted its independence. Both these supposi- 
tions are erroneous. As to the latter, it may be justly 
argued, that the Declaration of Independence was sim- 
ply what it calls itself: a declaration, a justificatory 
statement addressed to the world without, and not an 
act of organic legislation ascertaining the rights of the 
citizens within. The evidence is, that it enacts nothing 
save the one point of the independence of the colonies. 
Neither the Confederation nor the new Union formed in 
1781 ever based any legislation upon it, save as their acts 
involved the fact of independence. The constitution 
made no reference to it ; did not ground itself upon 
it, and did not reenact it. Hence, let its meaning be 
what it may, it legislates nothing for or against slavery. 

* 19th Howard, p. 58. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. ' 73 

But it is too clear to be disputed, that the enslaved 
African race were not intended to be included, and 
formed no part of the people who asserted their rights 
in this Declaration. The evidence is, that if the men 
who framed it had intended to refer to African slavery, 
they would have completely stultified themselves. For 
the majority of them, and of the States whiclx they rep- 
resented, continued to hold Africans in bondage just as 
before. A,few years after, the same men met in federal 
convention, and framed the late constitution of the 
United States ; by which property in slaves was pro- 
tected and perpetuated as before, and traffick in Afri- 
cans was prolonged until 1808, and made subject of 
taxation like other merchandise. The States which 
were emancipating their own Africans, equally with 
those which retained them in bondage, retained their 
laws prohibiting the marriage of Africans with whites.* 
Connecticut, until 1196, prohibited free negroes from 
travelling beyond their township without a pass. New 
Hampshire, and Congress itself, precluded negroes from 
serving in the militia.f The Declaration of Independ- 
ence was therefore intended by its framers to assert 
the liberties of civilized Americans and Englishmen, 
and not of African barbarians held in bondage. Wheth- 
er their consistency therein can be defended, is a sep- 
arate question, to which attention will be given in the 
proper place. But all publicists are agreed, that the 
meaning of a document is the document ; and that this 



* Law of Massachusetts, 1786, reenacted 1836. Rhode Island, Laws 
of, 1822 and 1S44. 
+ Code of New .Hampshire, 1815. Acts of Congress, 1792. 

4 



74 • A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

meaning is to be ascertained by the intentions of those 
•who frame and adopt it. 

The second objection to our conclusion is grounded 
upon the Ordinance of the Confederation, in 178T, by 
which slavery was prohibited in the North-western Ter- 
ritory ceded to the United States by Virginia. This 
magnificent domain, including the present States of 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, was conquered from the pub- 
lic enemy in the years 17t8-9, by the Comijionwealth 
of Virginia. She sent out her own troops, at her own 
charges, without either authority or assistance from 
the Confederation, then also engaged in a war with 
Great Britain, under her own commission to her heroick 
son, General George Rogers Clarke. . Upon the con- 
quest of the country, she disposed by her own State ac- 
tion of the prisoners of war captured, and annexed the 
territory to the State of Virginia, which then also in- 
cluded Kentucky. The other States, and the Confeder- 
ation, uniformly recognized this region as legitimately 
a part of Virginia. But during and after the war, the 
States which owned no unsettled territory grew exceed- 
ingly jealous of those which possessed such regions, 
and especially of Vii-ginia. They feared her ulterior 
grandeur and power. But their expressed plea was, 
that she, and other States possessed of vacant lands, 
could pay their share of the common war debt, without 
taxation, by the sale of these lands, which, as they 
claimed, were the fruits of the common exertions of the 
States, while the others would be subjected to an oner- 
ous taxation. The North-west Territory had, in fact, 
been won by Virginia, with her own bow and spear ; 
but at the request of the Congress of the Confederation, 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 75 

she magnanimously laid the splendid prize upon the 
altar of the common cause, ceding it in 1184 to Con- 
gress, for the common behoof of the United States. 
The Congress of the Confederation passed a long enact- 
ment, known as the Ordinance of 118t, providing, in 
many articles, for its settlement, for its government 
while a territory, and for the sale of lands. Among 
these was a clause prohibiting slavery in it. But mean- 
time, the Confederation was superseded by the general 
government organized under the new constitution of 
1787. The first Congress during the administration of 
General Washington, acting under the article of the 
constitution already cited for taking and managing the 
" territory and other propertj^" of the Confederation, 
passed an act, (August 7th, 1789,) for putting in effect 
the Ordinance of the Congress of the Confederation, 
now extinct. 

Such is the history of the case. The inference of the 
objector is, that because the Congress of 1789, acting 
under the late constitution, claimed power to execute 
the ordinance of 1787, (passed by the previous and dif- 
ferent general government,) w^ith its anti-slavery clause 
included, therefore that constitution gave it power to 
exclude slavery from any other territory. But the in- 
ference is worthless. Per, first, the Congress of the 
old Confederation had not a particle of constitutional 
power to adopt such an anti-slavery clause. So de- 
clared Mr. Madison emphatically :* and so has decided 
the Supreme Court of the United States.f Both these 
high authorities declare, that if the clause had any 

* Federalist, No. 38. Letter to Walsh, 1 819. 1 19tli Howard, pp. 40, 41, 



76 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

validity, it derived it only from the assent of Virginia, 
who had full sovereignty over the territory, and who 
accepted and ratified the exclusion by act of her Gen- 
eral Assembly, as well as by the mouths of her repre- 
sentatives in the Confederation. And the Congress of 
1789, in accepting the conditions imposed by the Ordi- 
nance of 1*181 on the territory, as valid and abiding, 
undertook to change nothing, because it regarded that 
validity as the result of treaty stipulations between 
Virginia and the other twelve States represented by the 
old Congress. It conceived itself as having inherited 
from a previous and different government powers over 
this particular territory, which it could by no means 
have originated by its own constitutional authority.* 
Second : The government framed under the new consti- 
tution was one of limited powers ; and Congress was 
expressly inhibited, by the instrument which created 
it, from exercising any authority not granted. But such 
a power as that to exclude citizens of any of the United 
States from the common territory, because they pro- 
posed to carry there property legalized both by the 
Constitution of the United States and of their own 
State, was not granted to Congress. That a govern- 
ment whose very foundation was the equality of the 
States, should thus attempt to disfranchise some States 
of a part of their rights, was a solecism too monstrous 
for these able and enlightened men. Third: When 
similar cessions of territory were afterwards made by 
North Carolina and Georgia, these States refused to Con- 
gress the privilege of appending to their laws touching 

* 19th Howard, pp. 44, 45. 



LEGAL STATUS OF SLAVERY. 77 

these lands, the exclusion of slavery ; and Congress 
obeyed, so framing their enactments as to admit and 
protect slave-owners. This proves that the exclusion 
derived its force from the consent of the Sovereign 
State, and not from the power of Congress. 

The third ground of objection which has been ad- 
vanced against our main proposition, is the doctrine 
said to have been decided by the Supreme Court of the 
United States, (as in the case of Prigg against the 
State of Pennsylvania,) that according to recognized 
international laws, a nation which does not hold slaves 
itself is not bound to recognize property in slaves in 
neighbouring nations, when those slaves come into its 
borders ; and that if a rendition is claimed, it must be 
asked of comity, or of special stipulation, and not as of 
international fight. The answer is clear and facile. 
The States of the American Union were, initially, as in- 
dependent nations to each other ; and then they were 
all slaveholding. Each one of them recognized in its 
own citizens the right of property in slaves ; and there- 
fore, if the above doctrine be granted, they could not 
then, by international law, refuse to recognize it in na- 
tions living at amity with them. Again : When they 
passed out of this condition of absolute independence, 
into that of federal union, their relations, so far as they 
ceased to be international, were regulated exclusively 
by the constitution ; and by this constitution the prop- 
erty in slaves was expressly recognized, the rendition 
of fugitive slaves was expressly required of all the 
States, whether themselves holding slaves or not ; and 
all the common territory of the Union was originally 
slave territory until it became free territory by sover- 



78 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

eign State action. Plainly, in such a case as this, the 
international law of Europe has no application, against 
historical facts and actual constitutional enactments. 
The sophism of this plea in the mouths of anti-slavery 
men, the uniform assertors of consolidation doctrines, 
would make the States, in the same breath, independent 
nations, in order that the international law of a diflferent 
hemisphere may be applied against them, and also sub- 
ject provinces of an anti-slavery nation, in order that 
they may be stripped of that equality of rights, belong- 
ing to sovereign constituent parties in a confederation. 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 79 



CHAPTER IV. 

HISTORY OF EMANCIPATIOX. 

The motive for introducing* the historical facts con- 
tained in this fchapter is the following : That ^he credit 
of Virginia as a slavcholding State is relatively illus- 
trated by the conduct of her partners in the confedera- 
tion touching the same matter. Virginia never passed 
a general act of emancipation; on the contrary, she 
forbade masters to free their slaves within her borders, 
unless they also provided for their removal to new 
homes. But what was it which the Northern States 
actually did? The general answer to this question can- 
not be better given than in the words of the Hon. A. H. 
H. Stuart of Virginia, in his Report to the General As- 
sembly, as chairman of its joint committee on the Har- 
per's Ferry outrages. He says : 

" At the date of the declaration of our national inde- 
pendence, slavery existed in every colony of the Con- 
federation. * * * * 

" Shortly after the Declaration of Independence, the 
Northern States adopted prospective measures to re- 
lieve themselves of the African population. But it is a 
great mistake to suppose that their policy in this par- 
ticular was prompted by any spirit of philanthropy or 
tender regard for the welfare of the negro race. On 



80 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the contrary, it was dictated by an enlightened self-in- 
terest, yielding obedience to overriding- laws of social 
economy. Experience had shown that the African race 
were not adapted to high northern latitudes, and that 
slave labour could not compete successfully with free 
white labour in those pursuits to which the industry of 
the North was directed. This discovery having been 
made, the people of the North, at an early day, began 
to dispose of their slaves by sale to citizens of the South- 
ern States, whose soil, climate, and productions were 
better adapted to their habits and capacities ; and the 
legislation of the Northern States, following the course 
of publick opinion, was directed, not to emancipation, 
but to the removal of the slave population beyond their 
limits. To effect this object, they adopted a system of 
laws which provided, prospectively, that all slaves born 
of female slaves, within their jurisdiction, after certain 
specified dates, should be held free when they attained 
a given age. No law can be found on the statute-book 
of any Northern State, which conferred the boon of 
freedom on a single slave in being. All who were 
slaves remained slaves. Freedom was secured only to 
the children of slaves, born after the days designated 
in the laws ; and it was secured to them only in the 
contingency that the owner of the female slave should 
retain her within the jurisdiction of the State until after 
the child was born. To secure freedom to the after- 
born child, therefore, it was necessary that the consent 
of the master, indicated by his permitting the mother 
to remain in the State, should be superadded to the pro- 
visions of the law. Without such consent, the law 
would have been inoperative, because the mother, before 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATIO:?^. 81 

the birth of the child, might, at the will of the master, 
be removed beyond tlie jurisdiction of the law. There 
was no legal prohibition of such removal, for such a 
prohibition would have been at war with the policy of 
the law, which was obviously removal, and not emanci- 
pation. The effect of this legislation was, as might 
have readily been foreseen, to induce the owners of fe- 
male slaves to sell them to the planters of the South, 
before the time arrived when the forfeiture of the off- 
spring would accrue. By these laws, a wholesale slave 
trade was inaugurated, under which a large proportion 
of the slaves of the Northern States were sold to per- 
sons residing south of Pennsylvania ; and it is an un- 
questionable fact that a large mimber of the slaves of 
the Southern States are the descendants of those sold 
by Northern men to citizens of the South, with cove- 
nants of general warranty of title to them and to their 
increase." 

Thus wrote Mr. Stuart, after thorough research. A 
brief recital of the enactments of the Northern slave- 
holding States will show that his general representa- 
tion is correct. We begin with Massachusetts. No 
law against slavery, (which had been long legally es- 
tablished in the colony,) w^as ever passed by her legis- 
lature ;* and in that sense, the right to hold slaves 
may be said to have formally existed, until it was ex- 
tinguished by her adoption of the " constitutional 
amendment," in 1866 ! Practically, slavery was grad- 
ually removed after 1180, by the current of the legal 
decisions against it, grounded upon a clause in the new 

* Moore, Slavery in Mass., p. 243. 
4* 



82 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

bill of rights, adopted by the State in that year. This 
clause asserted, nearly in the words of the Declaration 
of Independence, the native equality and liberty of 
men. In 1781 a slave of N. Jennison, of Worcester 
County, recovered damages of his master for beating.* 
This decision, if sustained, of course implied the cessa- 
tion of slavery. Although the Legislature of the State 
was moved in 1783, by this Jennison and others, to de- 
clare that slavery did not exist legally, so that the 
doubt might be ended, that body refused to act ; nor 
did it ever after abolish slavery.f But judicial de- 
cisions after the example of the Jennison case were 
made from time to time, until, in 1796, the Supreme Court 
of Massachusetts, in the case of Littleton v. Tuttle,| 
gave its countenance to the doctrine, that the bill of 
rights virtually made slavery illegal. That all this 
was a glaring instance of the judicial abuse, amjMandi 
jurisdictionem, is manifest from many facts : That the 
Massachusetts statesmen who adopted the same propo- 
sition in the Declaration of Independence, never dream- 
ed of its possessing any force to abolish slavery in the 
United States whicli set it forth : That the convention 
which drew up the bill of rights for Massachusetts did 
not tlfink of such an application ; That this document 
declared "no part of any citizen's property could be 
taken from him without his own consent :" That slaves 
continued to be bought and sold, and advertised as 
before ; And that the abolitionists, still in the minority, 
continued after 1780 to remonstrate against slavery as 



* Moore, Ilist. of Slavery in Mass., p. 213. t Ibid., p. 21G, etc. 

t Chief Jiisticc Parsons, Mass. Rep., 4, Winchedon v. Hatfield. 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 83 

a sin still legalized. But such a mode of determining 
the question was well adapted to the meddlesome and 
crooked temper of that people. By this judicial trick 
the envious non-slaveholders were enabled to attack 
their richer slavcholding neighbours, and render them 
so uneasy as to insure their disposing of their slaves ; 
while still there was neither law nor publick opinion 
prevalent enough to procure a legal act of emancipa- 
tion. 

New Hampshire and Vermont embodied the principle 
of prospective emancipation in their new constitutions. 
In nOO there were 158 slaves in New Hampshii'C. In 
1840 there was still one! Rhode Island passed a law 
in 1784, that no person born after that year should con- 
tinue a slave. Connecticut embodied in the revision of 
her laws, in 1784, a law providing that all children 
born of slave parents after March 1st of that year, 
should be free at twenty-five years of age. In 179t 
the term of servitude was reduced to twenty-one years 
for all born after August 1st of that year. Slavery was 
not actually abolished by law until June 12th, 1848 ; 
when the census shows there were no fewer than 
seventeen slaves in the State ; and how old and worth- 
less they must have been, appears from the fact that 
the youngest of them must have been born before 
March 1st, 1784.* 

In New York, the laws for slaves were more severe 
than in the Southern States, and the African slave 
trade was zealously encouraged during the whole 
colonial period. The slave could not testify, even to 

* Rep. of C. J. Hoadly, State Librarian of Connecticut. 



84 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

exculpate a slave. Three justices, with a sort of jury 
of five freeholders, could try capitally, and inflict any 
sentence, inclusive of burning alive."^ It was not until 
1*199 that the State commenced a system of laws for 
the gradual abolition of slavery. Every slave child 
born after July 4th of that year was to be free, the 
males after twenty-eight, and the females after twenty- 
five years. In 1810, the benefit of freedom was also 
extended to those born before July 4th, 1799, to take 
efi'ect July 4th, 1821, the date at which the earliest born 
of those freed by previous law reached their majority of 
twenty-eight years.-f Still the census of 1830 found 
75 slaves ! The Revised. Statutes of New York, after 
1817, provided a penalty for those carrying them out of 
the State for sale ; showing that the tendency to do so 
existed. 

In New Jersey, the first act looking towards prospec- 
tive, emancipation was adopted in 1784. By it all born 
after 1804 were to be free in 1820. It was not until 
1820 that action was taken to give effect to this prom- 
ise ; and then the nature of the law was such as to post- 
pone the hopes of the slaves. The first section of the 
law of February 24th, 1820, says : " Every child born 
of a slave within this State since the 4th day of July 
1804, or which shall hereafter be born as aforesaid, 
shall be free ; but shall remain the servant of the 
owner of his or her mother, and the executors, admin- 
istrators and assigns of such owners, in the same 
manner as if such child had been bound to service by 
the Trustees or Overseers of the poor, and shall con- 

* Chancellor Kent. t Idem. 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 85 

tinuG in such service, if a male until the age of twenty- 
live years, and if a female until the age of twenty-one 
years." It was within the scope of possibility that 
slave women w^hom this law left slaves for life might 
bear children as late as the year 1848 : wlicnce bondage 
would not have been terminated wholly by it until 1873. 
New Jersey had 236 slaves for life in 1850. It is 
stated by one of the best informed of her old citizens, 
that the prospective effect of these enactments was to 
cause a considerable exodus to Southern markets ; and 
that when a boy, he heard much talk of the sale of 
negroes, and the sending of them to "the Natchez," and 
was cognizant of the continual apprehension of the 
negroes concerning the danger. 

In Pennsylvania, emancipation was also prospective 
and gradual. Her first act was passed Marcli 1st, 1780. 
The rate at which it operated may be seen from these 
figures : In 1776 she had about 10,000 slaves ; in 1790, 
(ten years after her first act,) she had 3,737 ; in 1800, 
1,706; in 1810, 795; in 1820, 211; in 1830, 403; and 
in 1840, 64 slaves. 

Thus, the emancipation legislation of the Northern 
States has been reviewed, and the assertions of the 
Hon. Mr. Stuart substantially sustained. That North- 
ern emancipation was prompted by no consideration for 
the supposed rights of Africans, but by regard to their 
own interests, is evinced by many facts. Of these, 
perhaps the most general and striking is the persistent 
neglect of the welfare of their emancipated slaves ; 
the refusal to give them equal civic rights, until they 
found a motive for doing so in malice against the South ; 
and the shocking decadence, vice and misery to which 



86 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

a nominal liberty, according to the testimony of North 
ern writers, has consigned their wretched free blacks. 
Another proof is found in the current language of the 
men of the generation which effected the change. 
That language, as is well remembered by elderly per- 
sons still living, was usually such as this : that now 
that the population had filled up the country, the q\ics- 
tion of emancipation was simply one of choice between 
their own children and the negro — whether their sons 
should emigrate, or the negro be gotten rid of, as there 
was no longer room for both. Another conclusive 
proof is in the fact that while these States were get- 
ting rid of their own negroes, they were deliberately 
voting (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, 
in the Convention of 1187,) to prolong the introduction 
of slaves into the Carolinas nineteen years more. Still 
another evidence is found in the repugnance of those 
States to the infli^x of free blacks, and the stringent 
laws of some of them to prevent it. Thus, Massachu- 
setts, in March, 1788, (eight years after the pretended 
extinction of human bondage,) passed a law ordering 
every black, mulatto or Indian who came into the State 
and remained two months to be publickly whipped ; 
and this punishment was to be repeated "if he or she 
shall not depart totics quoties.'"* This law remained 
in force imtillSMl as is shown by its appearance in 
the Revised Laws of Massachusetts, 1823. It is also 
to be noted that the scheme of gradual emancipation, 
upon which the whole North acted, obviously recog 
nizes the property of the master in his slave aslegiti 

* Moore, Hist, of Slavery in Mass., p. 229. 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 87 

mate in itself. It only touches it, (because private 
rights are here required to give place to publick in- 
terest,) in the case of those born after a certain day. 
The slavery of the others is left as perpetual and legal 
as ever. And even as to the later born, the right of 
the master receives a certain recognition, in that he is 
allovired twenty-five years' service as a partial compen- 
sation for the surrender of the remainder. 

But how different is the summary abolition forced 
upon Virginia and the South! Here, the general legis- 
lation of the State was steadily multiplying, elevating 
and blessing the black race, which in the Nortli was so 
rapidly dying out under its pretended liberty. And 
private beneficence of Virginians, without any legal 
compulsion, had actually given the boon of freedom to 
at least one hundred thousand blacks ; which is more 
than all the citizens of the New England States, New 
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania together, ever did, 
under the force of all tlicir laws.* In this wise and 
beneficent career Virginia has been violently interrupt- 
ed, against Her recognized and guaranteed rights, by 
instant and violent abolition. The motive of the North, 

* The nc!?rocs freed by Virginians, with their increase in Ohio, 
Pennsj-lvania, Liberia, etc., are 100,000 at least. The maximum num- 
ber of slaves freed by the above States was. New Hampshire 029, 
Massachusetts 6,000, Rhode Island 4,.370, Connecticut 6,000, New York 
20,000, New Jersey 12,422, Pennsylvania 10,000. Total, 59,421. Such 
was the largest number of original frecdmen made by those States of 
their own slaves. When we remember that the census has proved 
that in the Northern States their natural increase has almost ceased 
for several decades, and in some there has been an actual diminution, 
it appears very plain that they and their progeny do not now number 
100,000. Meantime, the votes of the New England States assisted to 
add more than 600,000 to the number of slaves in Carolina ! 



88 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

as a whole, has manifestly been, not love for the negro^ 
but hatred of the white man, and lust of domination. 
This abolition is purely the result of a supposed mili- 
tary necessity, because the North believed that other- 
wise she could not overthrow the South in an unjust 
war. But for this single fact, the Africans would still 
bo in bondage, so far as the Yankee was concerned. 
The proof is, that the Chicago platform of the Black 
Republican party in 1860, expressly repudiated the 
purpose ever to meddle with slavery in the States. 
Mr. Lincoln, the chosen man of the North, solemnly 
asserted the same thing in his letter to A. H. Stephens 
of Georgia, in his publick inaugural, and in his mes- 
sages. The Congress, after the beginning of the war, 
solemnly declared to the world by a joint resolution, 
that the purpose of the war was only to restore the 
Union, and not to restrict or change State institutions. 
Mr. Lincoln constantly declared to the Abolitionists, 
that if the perpetuation of slavery tended to restore the 
Union, it should be perpetuated. His standing invita- 
tion to the States in arms' against him was: "If you 
wish to keep your slaves, come back into the Union." 
Can the North be believed in her own declarations ? 
Then, the charge made is true — that abolition in the 
South was prompted by ambition and hatred, not by 
philanthropy. 

Nor has this act been less wicked in its effects than 
in its motive. To the white race it was the most vio- 
lent, convulsive, reckless and mischievous act ever 
perpetrated by a civilized government. As a war 
measure, it was calculated and expected to evoke all 
the savage horrors of servile war, neighbourhood mas- 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 89 

sacre and butchery of non-combatants. Only the 
kindly relations which the benevolence and justice of 
the people of Virginia had established between them- 
selves and their slaves, and the good character which 
we had given to these former savages, disappointed 
this desired result. As an economic measure, it was 
the most violent ever attempted in modern history; be- 
ing a sudden confiscation of half, (and in some of the 
counties two-thirds) the existing property of the coun- 
try; and a dislocation of its whole labour system, just 
when the people were bowed under the burden of a 
gigantic war, and a collapsed currency. That it did 
not then again result in a total paralysis of industry, 
in famine and anarchy, (which was probably intended), 
is only to be explained by the exercise of an energy, 
versatility, good sense, and industry in the Southern 
people, which arc almost miraculous. By annihilating 
at one blow so much of the property on which the in- 
debtedness of the country was based, it insured a 
financial confusion and general bankruptcy which are 
destined to plunge hundreds of thousands of innocent 
persons (innocent even from Yankee points of view) 
into destitution and domestic distress, which three gen- 
erations will not heal. It confiscated the property of 
"loyal Union men," of helpless minors and lunatics, of 
venerable and infirm widows, without compensation, 
just as it did the possessions of the Confederate leader 
most obnoxious to the Yankee wrath. And what was 
the species of possession ? Was it some foul lucre, 
like the spoils of an Ac^n, so unrighteous that it 
must be instantly plucked away, regardless of conse- 
quences ? No; it was a species of property legalized by 



90 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Moses and Christ, owned for ages by the boasted an- 
cestors of the despoilers, now owned by themselves in 
the form of its fruits and increase, guaranteed by the 
Constitution which alone gave them any right to gov- 
ern us, legalized by all our State laws, which were of 
earlier and superior authority to that Constitution, and 
recognized by the sacred pledges of the North itself, 
even so late as the beginning of this war. 

But the step has been far more mischievous and unjust 
to the poor blacks, its pretended beneficiaries. It did 
not tarry to inquire whether they were fit for the change. 
It has resulted in the outbreak of a flood of vice, before 
repressed; of drunkenness, of illicit lust, of infanticide, 
of theft; and above all, of idleness, the least flagrant, 
but most truly mischievous fault of the African. It has 
suddenly and greatly diminished their share of the 
material goods they before enjoyed. The supplies of 
clothing and shoes now acquired by them do not reach 
a third of what they received before the war. Imme- 
diately on their emancipation, all the rural mill-owners 
testified that their grists fell off one-half, and have re- 
mained at that grade since. In those neighbourhoods 
where the blacks did not emigrate, (which was true of 
many neighbourhoods,) this showed that the consump- 
tion of bread was reduced one-half ; for although the 
large proprietors now had no occasion to send their 
large grists, yet, unless there were less consumed, the 
aggregate of the little grists of the freedmen's families 
should have made good that decrease. Every states- 
man knows that any burden or disaster imposed upon 
the industrial pursuits of a country, is transmitted 
down by the property classes to the destitute class, and 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 91 

presses there with its wlioh? force; just as inevitably as* 
the weight of a statue placed upon the top of a column, 
is ultimately delivered upon the lowest stratum of 
foundation-stones. For the great law of self-preserva- 
tion prompts each man, who has any property, to em- 
])loy it in evading that pressure for himself and his 
family. Thus the actual omis is handed down, until 
it reaches that class who have no property, and must 
therefore bear it, because they have nothing wherewith 
to pay for the shifting of it. Thus, all the malice of 
the conqueror, aimed at the hated white man, while it 
crowds us down, also crowds down equally the lal)()nr- 
er beneath us; and the blow alights ultimately on him. 
The famine which is now preying upon some parts 
of the South illustrates tlie mischief done by the disor- 
ganization of labour, and the comparative excellence of 
the old system. Such was its beneficence, that it car- 
ried the Southern country through all the exhausting 
trials of the war, without actual dearth in any part of 
the Confederacy. Hundreds of thousands of our most 
vigorous men were wholly withdrawn from productive 
])ursuits; our own armies were to be sustained; great 
hosts of enemies were continually tearing the vitals of 
the country; the year 1864 brought a drought so severe 
that in some parts of the country the crops of grain 
were reduced to one-tenth of the usual harvests; and 
yet, such was the happiness of our system, that it en- 
dured all these enormous trials, and met the wants of 
all. But after the new regime was well established, 
there came in 1866 such a drought as the South had 
several times experienced before, without inconven- 
ience; and although all was peace, there were no 



92 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

armies to support, and no labouring maA was called 
from the farm to the unproductive toils of the camp 
and the intrenchment, famine immediately resulted. 
Here is a fair comparison of the system of free African 
labour, with the old one. Indolence is the parent of 
crime. While the smaller misdemeanours are more fre- 
quent, there has been an alarming increase of felonies. 
In the orderly little county of Prince Edward, the 
criminal convictions of black persons averaged only 
one per year before the war. The last year they num- 
bered twelve! • An inquiry into the statistics of crime 
in our cities would reveal a yet larger increase.* 

Last, facts already evince, that the doom of ultimate 
extermination which Southern philanthropists have 
ever predicted as the i-esult of premature emancipation, 
is already overtaking the negro with giant strides. 
About the end of 1866 the oflScers of the State revenue 
made their returns, which showed that there were then 
about 215,650 negro males over 21 years within the 
present limits of Virginia. Eepeated calculations made 
from previous returns show that there. are usually, four 
and a half times as many souls among the blacks of 
Virginia as there are males over 21 years. The entire 
black population of the State then, at the end of the 



* From April 31st, 1860, to May 31st, 1862, two years and one month, 
there were two criminal convictions of negroes hy Prince Edward 
Court. From April 31st, 1865, to April 31st, 1867, a less period by one 
month, there were, in the same court, thirty-five criminal indictments 
of negroes, and fifteen convictions, leaving thirteen cases over to be 
tried at subsequent terms. And this aggregate of crime has already 
accumulated in our once peaceful little community, notwithstanding 
that the jurisdiction of our courts over negroes was totally suspended 
by our conquerors for a number of months after April 31st, 1865. 



HISTORY OF EMANCIPATION. 93 

last year, was 340,500. The census of 1860 returned 
531,000 blacks within the present limits of the State. 
The diminution is therefore 190,500; or nearly two- 
fifths, in less than two years. Some may suppose that 
more negro m'u have left the State since the war than 
women and children. If this is true, the number of 
males is now relatively smaller, and should be multi- 
plied by a larger ratio than 4| to find the correct total. 
But, on the other hand, it is certain that the neglect and 
mortality have been much larger among the aged and 
little children than among the robust men. This fact, 
therefore, reduces the ratio of the total to the males over 
21 years, and renders it certain that 340,500 is a large 
estimate. The same officers brought in returns which 
show that the white population of Virginia, although 
decimated by a terrible war, has actually increased 
since 1860. But we exposed no negro to the dangers of 
the battle. Thus it is made manifest that the philan- 
thropy of Yankees has been to the poor negro an in- 
finitely more desolating scourge than a tremendous 
war has been to the race against which the sword was 
openly wielded. And it requires little arithmetic to 
discover how long it will be, at this rate, before the 
monstrous consummation will be reached of the extinc- 
tion of a whole nation of people by their professed - 
friends. 



94 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 

§ 1. Let US appeal, then, to the Bible, to leafrn the 
moral character of Domestic Slavery. It will be well 
for both writer and readers, if they recall the reverence 
and honesty with which such a book should be ap- 
proached ; if the one is cautious to permit no party zeal, 
pride of opinion, or love of hypothesis, to tempt him to 
warp the sacred text to any thing inconsistent with its 
own truth and purity; and if the others are equally 
careful to receive its teachings with impartiality and 
docility. 

That no misunderstanding may attend the discussion, 
we must define at the outset, what we mean by that 
domestic slavery which we defend. By this relation 
we understand the obligations of the slave to labour for 
life, withotd his own consent, for the master. The thing, 
therefore, in which the master has property or owner- 
ship, is the involuntary labour of the slave, and not his 
personality, or his soul. A certain right of control over 
the person of the slave is incidentally given to the 
master by his property in the bondsman's labour; that is, 
so much control as is necessary to enable him to secure 
the labour which belongs to him. But we repeat, it is 
not the person, but the labour of the slave, which is the 
master's property. This is substantially the definition 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 95 

of Palcy, an enemy of slavery; and it is obviously cor- 
rect ; it expresses the general result of the laws of all 
modern nations which have had slaves, touching that 
relation. 

The abolitionists clamorously insist upon a different 
definition, which makes the master claim property in 
the very personality of the slave, in his soul, in the 
highest capacities which connect him with his God, 
and in his very being. According to this description^ 
slavery converts the responsible, rational being, into a 
mere thing, a chattel, a commodity, by converting him 
into mere property of another man. The motive of this 
preposterous definition is obvious enough. One of the 
most astute of American Abolitionists has been candid 
enough to avow it, saying that if our definition be 
adopted, there is an end of the discussion ; for every 
logician must see that it is absurd to declare the mere 
ownership of one man's labour by another, an essential 
and necessary moral wrong ; which is the character it 
suits them to ascribe to slavery. Their object is so to 
represent it, that it shall appear a self-evident injustice, 
and the apologist shall be overwhelmed and silenced by 
a foregone prejudice. For, if it gave a literal owner- 
ship in the person and being of the slave, which can be- 
long to none but the Creator ; if it made not only his 
labour, but his conscience, the property of the master, 
destroying his moral responsibility, it would indeed de- 
humanize him, and would be an iniquity indefensible by 
any fair mind. The trick of securing the victory before 
the contest begins, by raising a false issue, is not very 
novel. The utter absurdity of applying such a defini- 
tion to African slavery in America, appears from this : 



96 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

that it is contrary to the whole tenour of the legislation 
which establishes and regulates the institution among 
us. These laws, first, legislate for the slave, as to his 
own conduct, as a responsible human being, govern 
him by precepts sanctioned by rewards and punish- 
ments, and I'equire of him intelligent obedience to the 
same moral rules which are enforced on his master. 
Second, the laws assign to the master precisely that 
amount of control over his slave's person which they 
suppose (whether correctly or not is no concern to us 
in this argument) to be incidental to his property in 
the servant's labour ; and no more. Third, they protect 
the person, being, and moral responsibility of the slave 
against his own master. If the master kills him, it is 
murder, by the law. The slave's Sabbath is secured to 
him by the law. If the master force him to commit 
a crime, the former is held by the law guilty therefor, 
as accessory before the fact : and the latter is also held 
to his personal responsibility for it. And last, the law 
treats the slave so fully as a rational and responsible 
human, that it even bestows on him the right of litiga- 
tion against his own master, in one case. Any African 
setting up a plea of unlawful detention in bondage, 
against his master, is allowed to sue in forma pauperis, 
in" the courts of law. How could the fact be more 
clearly defined, that the institution of slavery treats the 
slave as a rational human being, and gives the master 
property in nothing but his labour ? 

Yet Senator Sumner points triumphantly to the words 
of the South Carolina statute as proving that slavery 
makes the servant a mere thing ; and all smaller Abo- 
litionists have caught up his special pleading. The 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 97 

cane of Mr. Brooks having given him, as it seems, a 
special taste for things South Carolinian, he hunted up 
a clause where the law of that State declares, tliat 
slaves and their children shall be held in every respect 
as " chattels personal." This proves beyond a perad- 
venture, he says, that the law reduces the slave to a 
mere thing, as though he were an ox or bureau. Yet, a 
hundred other laws of South Carolina treat him as a 
responsible man ! Any honest mind will perceive the 
explanation, at once; which is, that the la^vyers of 
South Carolina were not aiming, in this law, to settle 
the question of the moral nature of slavery; but to de- 
cide whether property in a slave should be regarded as 
pertaining to the real, or to the personal estate of a cit- 
izen ; and in deciding it, they very properly had more 
regard to legal perspicuity than to ethical accuracy of 
definition. Let us suppose that among the statutes of 
the British Parliament, there should be one (as there 
very probably is) declaring that when a master me- 
chanic dies, having an indentured apprentice, the un- 
finished term of service of this apprentice should be 
held as belonging to his personal effects, and should 
be so used for the benefit of his heirs or creditors. 
And let us suppose, farther, that in defining this fact, 
soDBe such words as these should be used : that said ap- 
prentice should be held in every respect, ^s pertaining 
unto the personal estate of the deceased. Then, the 
same logic would prove that the British laws reduce an 
apprentice to a mere chattel ! But we have a better 
illustration of its folly. God says. Genesis xxvi. 14 : 
"Isaac had possessio7is of flocks, and herds, and ser- 
vants." Leviticus, XXV. 45: "Of the children of strangers 

5 



98 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy: . . . 
and tliey shall be your 2Mssess ion." Exodus, xxi. 20, 21 : 
"And if a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, 
and he die under his hand: he shall be surely punished. 
Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall 
not be punished : for he is his money.'' Does God's 
law dehumanize the slave, and reduce him to a mere 
chattel ? We repeat, then, that, according to the slave 
institutions of the Southern States, it is only the labour 
of the servant which belongs to the master, and is 
treated as property. 

Let it be understood, then, from the beginning, that 
we are not inquiring into the moral character of that 
thing which Abolitionists paint as domestic slavery; a 
something horrid with the groans of oppressed inno- 
cence and the clang of unrighteous stripes ; a some- 
thing which aims to reduce a man to a brute, and de- 
nies hini his natural right to serve his Creator iind save 
his soiil. We begin by asserting that these things, if 
they ever exist in fact, are not domestic slavery, but 
the abuses of it. We are not the apologists of them : 
we no more defend them than do the Abolitionists. In 
this discussion we have nothing more to do with them, 
except to express, once for all, our strong abhorrence 
and reprobation of all such unlawful abuses of a lawful 
institution. • It has been a favourite trick of our oppo- 
nents, to represent the abuses of the relation so promi- 
nently and odiously, that the defender of slavery shall 
be held up to'the abhorrence of the publick as the de- 
fender of the abuses. Especially if he is a clergyman, 
(and necessity has thrown our side of this discussion 
very much into the hands of Southern clergymen,) do 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 99 

they raise a lioly clamour, representing' the unnatural 
wickedness of a desecrating of the sacred office to apol- 
ogize for such iniquities. Their object is to raise a 
prejudice against us in advance, which will deprive us 
of a dispassionate and just hearing. With all dispas- 
sionate and just readers, for whom alone we write, it 
shoidd be enough for us to repeat emphatically, that it 
is only the relation of domestic slavery as authorized 
by God, that we defend ; and not the abuses it has re- 
ceived at the hands of wicked men. The parental au- 
thority, and civil government, and the operations of 
God's own church, are often abused also. The intelli- 
gent reader, a,nd especially the intelligent Englishman, 
will remember how triumphantly this shallow sophism 
of arguing against a thing from its abuses, is exposed 
by Burke, in his reply to Bolingbroke's posthumous as- 
sault on Christianity, the ironical " Defence of Natural 
Society.^ Such argument from abuses can only be just 
when it is shown that the wrongs pointed out are not 
incidental abuses, but legitimate, and necessary, and 
uniform consequences of the institution itself. But 
that the incidental evils of African slavery among us 
are not such, is abundantly proved by the simple fact, 
that thousands of masters held slaves among us, and 
yet perpetrated none of these abuses. About the rela- 
tive frequency of such abuses, we shall have something 
to say at a subsequent place. Enough now to point to 
the fact, that by the vast majority of our servants they__ 
were unfelt, so that they cannot be necessary parts of 
the system. 

We conclude these preliminary definitions by request- 
ing the reader to note well what is the moral character 



100 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

which we understand the Bible to assign to slavery. 
We do not admit that it is a thing in itself evil, but yet 
attended with such circumstances, in the eyes of many 
merciful and humane masters who have found them- 
selves by inheritance unwilling slaveholders, that a 
change would be attended with still greater mischiefs : 
so that they are excusable for its continuance for a 
time. This is the view of many moderate and kind anti- 
slavery men ; it is not ours. We do not hold that slave- 
holding is only justified as belonging to that class of 
wrongs, to which the laws of Moses assigned polygamy, 
which ought not to have been done, but which, when 
done, cannot be undone, except by the perpetrating of 
a greater wrong. We assert that the Bible teaches that 
the relation of master and slave is perfectly lauful and 
right, provided only its didies he laufidlij fulfilled. 
When we say this, we shall not be understood as say- 
ing that all men ought to live in this relation, Notwith- 
standing the wide diversities of their condition and 
characters, or that it would be politic, or even right, 
for all. But we say that the relation is not sin in it- 
self ; but may be perfectly righteous and innocent, and 
not merely excusable. And we are fi-ee to confess that 
unless the Bible taught us this truth, we should be 
obliged to hold with the decided Abolitionists. We 
could never be of the number of those, who attempt to 
transmute the essential traits of moral right and wrong, 
at the demand of expediency, and to excuse the contin- 
uance of a radical injustice, by the inconvenience of 
repairing it. Duty belongs to man ; consequences to 
God. 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 101 

§ 2. The Curse upon Canaan. 

The student of history perceives that, whatever may- 
be the moral character of domestic slavery, it is one of 
the most hoary institutions of the human race. It has 
prevailed in every age and continent, and under pa- 
triarchal, monarchical, despotic, aristocratic, republican 
and democratic governments ; while secular history 
gives us no account of its origin. But Sacred Writ in- 
forms us, and traces it to the earlier generations of the 
human family as refounded after the flood. In Genesis, 
ix. 20 to 2T, we have the following brief narrative : 
"And Jioah began to be an husbandman, and he plant- 
ed a vineyard : and he drank of the wine and was 
drunken : and he was uncovered within his tent. And 
Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his 
father, and told his two brethren without. And Shorn 
and Japhet took a garment, and laid it upon both their 
shoulders, and went backward and covered the naked- 
ness of their father ; and their faces were backward, 
and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah 
awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son 
had done unto him ; and he said, Cursed be Canaan ; a 
servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And 
he said. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem : and Canaan 
shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japhet and he 
shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan shall be 
his servant." 

In explanation of it, the following remarks may be 
made ; on which the majority of sound expositors are 
agreed. In this transaction, Noah acts as an inspired 
prophet, and also as the divinely chosen, patriarchal 



102 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

head of church and state, which were then confined to 
his one family. God's approbation attended his ver- 
dict, as is proved by the fact that the divine Providence 
has been executing it for many ages since Noah's death. 
Canaan probably concurred in the indecent and unnat- 
ural sin of Ham. As these early men were extremely 
ambitious of a numerous and prosperous posterity, 
Ham's punishment, and Canaan's, consisted in the mor- 
tification of hearing their descendants doomed to a de- 
graded lot. These descendants were included in the 
punishment of their wicked progenitors on that well- 
known principle of God's providence, which " visits the 
sin of the fathers upon the children," and this again is 
explained by the fact, that depraved parents will nat- 
urally rear depraved children, unless God interfere by 
a grace to which they have no claim ; so that not only 
punishment, but the sinfulness, becomes hereditary. 
Doubtless God's sentence, here pronounced by Noah, 
was based on his foresight of the fact, that Ham's pos- 
terity, like their father, would bo peculiarly degraded 
in morals ; as actual history testifies of them, so far as 
its voice extends. 

Some have been weak enough to draw a justification 
of slavery from the fact, that the bondage of Canaan's 
posterity is predicted. This logic the Abolitionists 
have, of course, delighted to expose ; it was easj'^ to 
show, by sundry biblical instances, like that of the As- 
syrian employed to chastise Israel, and then punished 
by God for his own rapacity, that it is no justification 
of one's acts to find that God, in his inscrutable and 
holy workings, has overruled them to the effectuation 
of his own righteous, secret purposes. And our oppo- 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 103 

nents, with a treachery fully equal to the folly of our 
unwise advocates, usually represent this as nearly the 
whole amount, and the fair exemplar, of our biblical ar- 
gument. Such is not the use we design to make of this 
important piece of history. 

It does in the first place, what all secular history and 
speculations fail to do : it gives us the origin of domes- 
tic slavery. And we find that it was appointed by God 
as the punishment of, and remedy for (nearly all God's 
providential chastisements are also remedial) the pecu- 
liar moral degradation of a part of the race, God here 
ordains that thi* depravity shall find its necessary re- 
straints, and the welfare of the more virtuous its safe- 
guard against the depraved, by the bondage of the lat- 
ter. He introduces that feature of political society, for 
the justice of which we shall have occasion to contend ; 
that although men have all this trait of natural equality 
that they are children of a common father, and sharers 
of a common humanity, and subjects of the same law 
of love ; yet, in practice, they shall be subject to social 
inequalities determined by their own characters, and 
their fitness or unfitness to use privileges for their own 
and their neighbours' good. 

But second : this narrative gives us more than a pre- 
diction. The words of Noah are not a mere prophecy; 
they are a verdict, a moral sentence pronounced upon 
conduct, by competent authority; that verdict sanc- 
tioned by God. Now if the verdict is righteous, and 
the execution blessed by God, it can hardly be, that the 
executioners of it are guilty for putting it in effect. 
Can one believe that the descendants of Shem and Ja- 
phet, with this sentence in their hands, and the divine 



104 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

commendation just bestowed on tliem for acting tinlikc 
Ham, could have reasonably felt guilty for accepting 
that control over their guilty fellow-men which God 
himself had assigned ? For the vital dificrence between 
the case of the Assyrians, when their guilty ambition 
was permissively employed by God to punish the back- 
slidings of his own people, and the case of Shem and 
Japhet, is this : The Assyrians were cursed by God for 
doing their predicted work, in the very sentence ; Shem 
and Japhet were blessed by Him in the very verdict 
which assigns Canaan as their servant. 

It may be that we should find little difficulty in trac- 
ing the lineage of the pi-esent Africans to Ham. But 
this inquiry is not essential to our argument. If one 
case is found where God has authorized domestic slav- 
ery, the principle is settled, that it cannot necessarily 
be sin in itself. It is proper that we should say, in 
conclusion, that this passage of Scripture is not regard- 
ed, nor advanced, as of prime force and importance in 
this argument. Others more decisive will follow. 

§ 3. Abraham a Slaveholder. 

The references to the bondsmen of Abraham and his 
son Isaac are the following: Genesis xiv., 14, "And 
when Abram heard that his brother," (or relative, viz.: 
Lot,) "was taken captive, he armed his trained ser- 
vants, born in his own house, three hundred and eigh- 
teen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided 
himself against them, he and his servants, by night," 
etc. Genesis xvii., 10, etc., "This is my covenant 
wliich ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 105 

after thee; every man-child among you shall be circum- 
cised," .... V. 12, "And he that is eight days old 
shall be circumcised among you, every man-child in 
your generations; he that is born in the house, or 
bought with money of any stranger, which is not of 
thy seed. He that is born in thy house and he that is 
bought with thy money must needs be circumcised," 
and V. 26, 27, " In the self-same day was Abraham cir- 
cumcised, and Ishmael his son; and all the men of his 
house, born in the house and bought with money of the 
stranger, were circumcised with him." Genesis xviii. 
IT to 19, " And the Lord said. Shall I hide from Abra- 
ham that thing which I do: seeing that Abraham shall 
surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the 
nations of the earth shall be blessed in him ? For I 
know him, that he will command his children and his 
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the 
Lord, to do justice and judgment: that the Lord may 
bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." 
Genesis xx. 14, " And Abimelech" (seeking reconcilia- 
tion with Abraham for the wrong intendedto Sarah his 
wife, at God's command,) "took sheep and oxen, and 
men-servants and women-servants, and gave them unto 
Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife." Genesis 
xxiv. 35, Eliezer, when seeking a wife for Isaac, says: 
" And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he 
is become great; and he hath given him flocks, and 
herds, and silver, and gold, and men-servants, and 
maid-servants, and camels and asses." And Genesis, 
xxvi. 12, 14, it is said of Isaac: "And the Lord 
blessed him. And the man waxed great and went for- 
ward and grew until he became very great. For he 

5* 



106 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and 
great store of servants." 

It appears then, that Abraham, " the friend of God/' 
and Isaac, the most holy and spotless of the Patriarchs, 
were great slaveholders. But before pursuing the ar- 
gument farther, it may be prudent to remove the quib- 
ble that these servants were not slaves, in the sense of 
our African slaves, but only humble clansmen, retain- 
ers, or hirelings. At least one writer would prove this 
by the fact that Abraham did not fear to arm three hun- 
dred and eighteen of them. For had they been real slaves, 
says he, they would not have continued so one day aftef 
getting arms in their hands. The retort most appro- 
priate would be, that Abraham was not afraid to arm 
his slaves, though actual slaves, because there were no 
saucy, meddling, Yankee Abolitionists in those days to 
preach insubordination and make ill blood between 
masters and servants. But, more seriously, what shall we 
say of the professed reasoning which assumes the very 
point in debate? viz.: that slavery is an evil; and thence 
infers the conclusion that these could not be slaves, 
because they did not seize the power to burst the bonds 
of such an evil when placed in their reach ? If their 
bondage was not evil, which is the question sub judice 
in this debate, then they would not necessarily desire 
to burst from it. And that these were actual slaves is 
clear, because the words for bondsman and bondsmaid 
here used are, in every case, ebed and shijypheh, which are 
defined by every honest lexicon to mean actual slaves, 
which are used in that sense alone everywhere else in 
the Hebrew Scriptures, which are contrasted in the 
book of Leviticus with the "hired servant," "or sasir. 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT lOY 

A part of these servants were bought from foreigners 
with Abraham's money. They are represented along 
with his very sheep and oxen as his property. 

Abraham and Isaac then, wei'c all their lives literal 
slaveholders, on a large scale. Now we do not argue 
that this fact alone, coupled with the other, that they 
were good men, proves that slaveholding is innocent. 
The Abolitionists, fond of an easy victory on a false 
issue, always hasten to represent this as the amount of 
the argument; and then, their reply is obvious — that 
the example of truly good men is no rule of ethics for 
us, unless supported by the expressed or implied ap- 
proval of God; for good men are imperfect, and many 
of their errors are recorded, by the honesty of the 
sacred writers, for our warning — that Abraham himself 
was guilty of falsehood to Abimelech, King of Gerar, 
and especially that he was betrayed into the gross sin 
of concubinage. Hence they say, Abraham's example 
no more proves slaveholding innocent than concubin- 
age. We reply, that all these remai-ks, except tho last, 
are perfectly just; but they have no application to the 
case, because God's sanction of Abraham's example as 
a slaveholder is expressly found in the narrative. The 
cases of slaveholding and concubinage are totally 
different. First, because the origin of the latter sin 
in the accursed lineage of Cain, and the act of the 
murderer Lamech, is impliedly stamped with God's con- 
demnation, (Genesis iv. 19,) whereas the origin of 
domestic slavery is given us in the righteous sentence 
of God for depraved conduct. Second, Abraham fell 
into the sins of falsehood and concubinage but once, 
under violent temptation. There is no evidence that 



108 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

either he or Isaac ever practised them again, but both 
liv-ed and died without one I'ecorded qualm of con- 
science, in the practice of slaveholding, and made it 
one of their last acts, before passing to the judgment- 
seat of God, to bequeath their slaves, as property, to 
their heirs. Third, in Genesis xxiv. 35, and xxvi. 12, 
14, it is represented that the bestowal of a multitude of 
slaves on Abraham and Isaac was a mark of the divine 
favour. In the first passage, it is indeed only the 
pious Eliezer who states this; but in the second, it is 
stated of Isaac by the sacred narrative itself. Now to 
represent God as blessing a favoured saint by bestow- 
ing providentially gifts which it is a sin to have, im- 
plicates God in the sin. Fourth, in Genesis xviii. It 
to 19, Jehovah expresses his love for Abraham, appro- 
bation for his character, and purpose to exalt him as 
a blessing to all nations, because " He knew him that 
he would command his children and his household 
after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord to 
do justice and judgment." What was this "house- 
hold," distinct from his children? Hebrew usage and 
the context answqr with one voice, his slaves. Then, 
God's high favour to Abraham was explained by the 
fact that he foresaw the patriarch would govern his 
children and slaves religiously and righteously. Now 
we ask emphatically, does a holy God bless a misguided 
and sinning man for the manner in which he perseveres 
in the sinful practice, be that manner what it may? If 
the relation of master and slave were sinful, would not 
the virtue of terminating the relation at once, so far 
transcend the questionable credit of using it to make 
the wronged and oppressed victim live piously, that it 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 109 

would be impossible for God to bestow his peculiar 
praise on the latter, where the former was lacking- ? 
There is no righteous way to perpetuate an unrighteous 
relation. Therefore God's blessing Abraham for his 
good government of his slaves, is proof that it is not a 
sin to have slaves to govern. 

But, last and chiefly, we have a still stronger fact to 
present. When Abraham was directed in Genesis xvii., 
10, etc., to cii'cumcise himself as a sign of the cove- 
nant between God and him, he was also directed to 
circumcise all his male children. The parental rela- 
tionship was made the ground of their inclusion in the 
same covenant. And God directed his slaves also, 
" born in his house, or bought with his money of any 
foreigner," to be circumcised along with him. The 
pai-ental tie brought his children under the religious 
rite of circumcision; the bond of master and servant 
brought his servants under it. lie re then, we have the 
relationship of domestic slavery sanctioned, along Avith 
the parental and filial, by God's own injunction, by a 
participation in the holiest sacrament of the ancient 
church. Would a holy God thus baptize an unholy 
relation? Would he make it the ground of admission 
to a religious ordinance ? To see a feeble illustration 
of the absurdity of such a conclusion, consider what 
•would be though t*of a minister of the New Testament, 
in which our Saviour has forbidden a plurality of wives, 
if that minister should desecrate the marriage cere- 
monial of his church, knowingly, to sanctify the union 
of the felon in the act of bigamy? Such a desecration 
would .surely be not less shocking in the Author, than 
in a minister of religion. 



110 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

And hei'e, the favourite plea of the anti-slavery men 
fails entirely — that Abraham lived in the dawn of re- 
ligious light; that the revelation given him was only 
partial, and that while he possessed the rectitude of 
conscience which would have made him relinquish all 
sinful relations, if enlightened as to their true character, 
the customs of his age misled him to commit things 
which Christians afterwards taught to be sinful, and 
that therefore, these things, excusable in him because 
of his ignorance, would be wickedness in us. There is 
some truth in these statements, but they have nothing 
on earth to do with this example; because the circum- 
cision of the slaves was God's act, and not Abraham's. 
God knows all things. He is perfectly holy and un- 
changeable. If he had seen that slavery is intrinsically 
wrong, and had intended at some future day to declare 
it so, would he at this time have sanctioned it by mak- 
ing it the ground of a solemn ordinance of religion ? As 
we shall see, this cry of the imperfection of the Old 
Testament revelation is of Socinian origin, and is es- 
sentially false, in the sense in which it is uttered. But 
be it as just as any statement could be, it has no appli- 
cation here; because our whole inference is drawn from 
the acts of God himself, and not of an Old Testament 
Saint. 

§ 4. Hagar remanded to Slavery by God. 

Sarah, in a season of desperation at her childless 
condition, seems to have been tempted to imitate the 
corrupt expedient which was prevalent among the Ca- 
naanites around her, and which still prevails in the 
East. According to this usage, the chief wife, or wife 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. Ill 

proper, gWei to her husband a concubine from among 
her slaves, as a sort of substitute for herself ; and the 
olTspring of the connexion is regarded as her own 
child. Abram, misled by evil example, and by the so- 
licitations of his. wife — the person who wotdd have had 
the best right to complain of his act — concurred tem- 
porarily in the arrangement, and received his Egyptian 
slave Hagar as an inferior wife. The favour of her 
master, and the prospective honour of being the mother 
of offspring, which has always been exceedingly prized 
by Oriental women, so inflated the servant with impu- 
dence, that she no longer treated her mistress with de- 
cent respect. When Sarah bitterly complained of this, 
Abram replied by reminding her that Hagar was still 
her slave ; and that she was entitled, as a mistress, to 
compel her to observe a suitable demeanour. When 
Sarah proceeded to exert this authority, probably ad- 
ministering corporal punishment to Hagar for some in- 
stance of impertinence, the latter ran away, and pur- 
sued the direction which led to her native country, 
Egypt. It was then that the angel of the Lord found 
her " by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, 
Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence earnest thou ? and whither 
wilt thou go ? And she said, I flee from the face of my 
mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto 
her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under 
her hands." Genesis xvi., t to 9. He then proceeded 
to unfold the future of her unborn son, and Hagar 
obeyed his commands. From verses 10th and 13th, we 
learn certainly that this angel was a Divine Person. 
For, in the first place, he promises Hagar, " I will mul- 
tiply thy seed exceedingly ;" but none but the Almighty 



112 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

could truthfully make such a promise in his own name, 
as it is here made. In the latter place we are informed 
that it was the Lord (in Hebi-ew, Jehovah; the most 
characteristic and incommendable name of God) that 
spake unto her ; and Hagar called his name : " Thou 
God, seest me." We remark again, that Hagar was 
certainly in the relation of domestic slavery, and not of 
a hired servant, to Abraham and Sarai. She is called 
Shiphheh, which is the regular word for female slave 
in the Old Testament. Had she not been an actual 
slave, Sarai would never have presumed, according to 
Oriental usage, to dispose of her person in the manner 
related. Here, then', we have God, himself, the Angel 
Jehovah, who can be no other than the Second Person 
of the Trinity, Christ, commanding this fugitive to re- 
turn into the relation of domestic slavery, and submit 
to it. Can that relation be in itself sinful ? To assert 
this, would make our adorable Saviour x>o.rticeps crimi- 
nis. He cannot have required a soul to return into a 
sinful state. He never requires of his servants more 
than their duty ; so that if Sarai had possessed no real 
and just title to Hagar's services as a slave — if the claim 
had been a mere imposition and injustice, she would 
not have been required to submit to it. Abolitionists 
attempt to evade this by saying that Hagar was in- 
structed to return and submit to bondage on the same 
principle on which Christ instructs us, when wrong- 
fully smitten on one cheek to turn the other likewise. 
This, say they, by no means implies that the smiting 
was just. We reply, that the parallel cannot be drawn. 
Had Hagar been in the hand of an unjust mistress, it 
would have been her duty in Christian forbearance to 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 113 

" take it patientl}'', though buffeted wrongfully." But 
she was not now in Sarai's hand. She had success- 
fully escaped it, and was far advanced in her jour- 
ney to her native Egypt, where she evidently expected 
to find friends and shelter. Under these circumstances, 
it is preposterous to say that the grace of Christian 
forbearance required of her to return voluntarily whith- 
er no claim of right drew her, and subject Jierself to 
unjust and unauthorized persecution again. We ask, 
Does Christ so press the duty of peaceableness, as to 
sacrifice to it the whole personal well-being and right- 
ful interests of the innocent victim of unjust aggres- 
sion ? Is his chief object, in these lessons of forbear- 
ance, to gratify and pamper the lust of persecution in 
the aggi-essor ? Is there no right of just self-defence 
left ? Surely he teaches us that we owe a duty to our 
own life and well-being, as well as to our fellow-men's. 
When we are wronged, we are to defend this right only 
in such ways as become a son of peace — a man of for- 
giveness. But the same Saviour who taught his disci- 
ples to render good for evil when injured, also com- 
manded them : " When they persecute you in one city, 
flee ye into another." When a peaceable escape caii 
be secured from injustice, it is both the privilege and 
duty of the most forgiving Christian on earth to use it. 
Now Hagar was in such a condition ; had her siibjec- 
tion to Sarai been, as the Abolitionists say slavery is, a 
condition of unjust persecution, the Saviour's instruc- 
tions to her would doubtless have been : " Now that 
you have escaped the injustice of her that wronged 
you, flee to another city." His remanding her to Sarai 
shows that the subjection was lawful and right. 



114. A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

It has been objected again, that Ave cannot argue 
this, unless we are willing to argue the lawfulness of 
concubinage ; because to send Hagar back to her bond- 
age was to resign her again to this relation. We ut- 
terly deny it. The Lord only says to her : " Return to 
thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands ;" not 
" Return to thy master's bed." There is not one parti- 
cle of proof that Abram continued his improper con- 
nexion with lier after these transactions. Nor is there 
more worth in the remark, that subsequently, the same 
divine Being met Hagar wandering in the same wilder- 
ness, and did not require her to return, but assisted her 
journey. The answer is, that she was then under no 
obligation to return ; because her master had fully 
manumitted her, and bestowed her freedom on her. 

§ 5. Slavery in the Laics of Moses. 

God, in accordance with his covenant with Abraham, 
set apart Israel, through the ministry of Moses, to be 
his peculiar and holy people, his witness in the midst 
of an apostate world, to keep alive the services and 
precepts of true morality and true religion, till, in the 
fulness of time, Jesus Christ should come in the flesh, 
and begin the Christianizing of all nations. To effect 
these objects, He renewed his revelation of the eternal 
and unchangeable moral law, from Sinai, in the Deca- 
logue ; and he also gave, by the intervention of Moses, 
various religious and civil laws, which were peculiar to 
the Jews, and wei'e never intended to be observed after 
the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The great object of 
all this legislation, was to set apart the Jewish nation 
as a holy people, peculiarly dedicated to purity of moral 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 115 

life, and the maintenance of true religion, amidst cor- 
rupt and idolatrous g'cnerations. To efl'ect this, God 
found it necessary to raise a barrier to familiar social 
intercourse between the Israelites and their coraupting 
heathen neighbours ; and sundry of the expedients by 
which this barrier was raised, were prohibitions of 
usages which would have been, in themselves, neither 
right nor wrong, but morally indifferent, as the eating 
of pork. Some of those laws having the same object in 
view, required acts in their original nature indiflerent ; 
such as circumcision and eating the Passover. But it 
is totally inconsistent with the holiness of God, and 
with his purpose of setting Israel apart to a holy life, 
that any of those peculiar laws should require acts in 
themselves wicked, or forbid things in themselves mox'- 
ally binding. It would be impiety to represent God as 
capable of commanding what. is wrong ; and to enjoin 
sin in order to make people holy, would be a folly and 
a contradiction. God's revealed will, so far as it is re- 
vealed for a rule of life, either permanent or temporary, 
can contain nothing but what is right, and pure, and 
just. If it had been a positive moral duty to eat pork, 
this holy God would never have made the prohibition 
to eat it a part even of the temporary, ceremonial laws 
of his servants. Had it been morally wrong to kill, 
roast, and eat a lamb, God would never have enjoined 
on them the institution of the .Passover. These conclu- 
sions are as plain as the alphabet. 

Now then, if we find any particular thing either sanc- 
tioned or enjoined, in the peculiar ceremonial or civil 
institutions of Moses, it does not prove that thing to be 
morally binding on us, in this century, or necessarily 



116 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

politic and proper for us ; but it docs prove it to be, in 
its essential moral character, innocent. That thing can- 
not be sin in itself. So, Juo. David Michaclis, in his 
Commentaries on the Laws of 3Ioses, Book 1, Art. 1. 
This is the important and just distinction. The fact 
that animal sacrifices were required in the ceremonial 
laws of Moses, does not prove that it is our duty, under 
the Christian dispensation, to offer sacrifices, or that it 
is appropriate for us to do so ; but it does prove that 
the act would be in itself innocent (though useless) for 
us, and for every one, if it had not been forbidden in 
subsequent revelation. Otherwise, a holy God would 
never have enjoined or sanctioned it at all. 

Therefore, the fact that God expressly authorized do- 
mestic slavery, among the peculiar and temporary civil 
laws of the Jews, while it does not prove that it is our 
positive duty to hold slaves, does prove that it is inno- 
cent to hold them, unless it has been subsequently for- 
bidden by God. Now then, let us see what God author- 
ized by Moses. Exodus xxi. 2 to 6 : "If thou buy an 
Hebrew servant, (Ebed,) six years he shall serve ; and 
in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he 
came in by himself he shall go out by himself : if he 
were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If 
his master have given him a wife, and she have borne 
him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall 
be her master's, and he 'shall go out by himself. And 
if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my 
wife, and my children ; I will not go out free : then his 
master shall bring him unto the judges ; he shall also 
bring him unto the door, or unto the door-post ; and his 
master shall bore his ear through with an awl ; and he 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 117 

shall serve him forever," (that is, probably, until the 
year of Jubilee, which came once in fifty years. See 
Leviticus xxv. 41.) 

This, cries the anti-slavery man, was only temporary 
servitude. We reply: but it was involuntary servitude, 
though, temporary. It gave to the master the right to 
compel the labour of the servant without his consent ; 
and this is a sanction of tlie principle of our institution. 
What will be said then to the following? Leviticus 
xxv. 44 to 46 : " Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids 
which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that arc 
round about you ; of them shall ye buy bondmen and 
bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers 
that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy and of 
tlioir families that are with you, which they begat in 
your land ; and they shall be j'our possession," (your 
property.) " And ye shall take them as an inheritance 
for your children after you, to inherit them for a posses- 
sion ; they shall be your bondmen forever ; but over 
your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule 
over one another with rigour." 

The antithesis in the position of the two laws shows 
that these heathen slaves were not to go free at the 
year of Jubilee, like Hebrew slaves. They are to be 
bondmen forever. They and tkcir children, slaves by 
birth, are to descend from father to son, as heritable 
property. There was to be "no seventh year freedom 
here ; there is no Jubilee liberation." So says the 
learned divine, Moses Stuart, of Andover, .himself an 
anti-slavery man. And so say all respectable Hebrew 
antiquaries. Indeed it would be hard to construct lan- 
guage defining more strongly and fully all those fea- 



118 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tures of domestic slavery most contradictory to the the- 
ory of Abolitionists. They were to be bought and sold. 
They were heritable property: (Mr. Sumner would prove 
hence, " mere chattels.") Here is involuntary slavery 
for life, expressly authorized to God's own peculiar and 
holy people, in the strongest and most careful. terms. 
The relation, then, must be innocent in itself. With 
what show of candour can men say, in the face of a 
sanction so full, so emphatic, so hearty, that Moses, 
finding the hoary institution of domestic slavery so 
deeply rooted that it would be impossible then to abol- 
ish it, tolerated it, and limited it by all the restrictions 
whicli he could apply, calculated to cut off its worst 
horrors? We ask, was Moses the author of these laws, 
or God? Does the Almighty, the Unchangeable, the 
Holy, connive at moral abuses, like a puny human mag- 
istrate, and content himself, where he dare not denounce 
a sin, with pruning its growth a little? We ask again : 
Is this gloss borne out by the facts ? - Was Moses, in 
fact, timid in assailing old and deeply-rooted vices, and 
in demanding that they should be eradicated wholly? 
Let his uncompromising legislation against Idolatry 
and Adultery answer. The truth is, such writers as use 
the above language know nothing about the true na- 
ture of domestic slavery, and draw their inferences only 
from their prejudices. God and Moses knew it well. 
They knew that it was an institution which, when not 
abused, was suitable to the character of the depraved 
persons foi» whom it was designed, and wholesome and 
benign. Hence, they prohibit all inhuman abuses of 
it ; and then they do not tolerate it merely as an un- 
avoidable wrong ; but they expressly legalize it, as 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 119 

right. An honest mind can make nuthing less of their 
words. But in Numbers xxxi. 25 to 30, and Joshua 
ix. 20 to 27, wc have instances which arc, if possible, 
still stronger. In the former passage the people of 
Midian had been conquered by God's command, and the 
captives and spoils brouglit home ; the captives to be 
slaves for life according to the law of Leviticus, ch, 
XXV. The book of Numbers then proceeds: "And the 
Lord spake unto Moses saying. Take the sum of prey 
that was taken both of man and of beast, thou and 
Eleazer the priest and the chief fathers of the congre- 
gation; and divide the prey into two parts; between 
them that took the war upon them who went out to 
battle, and between all the congregation. And levy a 
tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went 
out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the per- 
sons, and of the beeves, and of the asses and of the 
sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazer 
the priest, for an heave-offering of the Lord. And of 
the children of Israel's half thou shalt take one portion 
of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses and 
of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them 
unto the Levites which keep the charge of the taber- 
nacle of the Lord." In verses 40th and 46th, we read 
farther that the "Lord's tribute of the persons" of the 
first half, "was thirty and two persons," and of the 
second half, " three hundred and twenty." Here God 
commands a portion of these slaves to be set apart to a 
sacred use, and dedicated to himself, that they might 
become the property ef the ministers of religion. The 
second instance is not contained in the books of Moses, 
but in the history of his successor Joshua: we group it 



120 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

•with the former, for its similarity. In Joshua, ch. ix., 
we are told that while he was triumphantly engaged in 
the destruction of the condemned heathen tribes of Pal- 
estine, according to God's command, the people of Gib- 
eon, a part of the doomed race, despairing of a success- 
ful defence, adopted this stratagem to sa-^e themselves. 
Under pretence that they were not of Palestine at all, 
but from a very distant place, their ambassadors ob- 
tained from the leaders of the Israelites a very strin- 
gent oath of amity. This pledge the elders incautiously 
gave, without seeking the divine dii-ection. In a very 
few days they learned to their astonishment, that these 
Gibeonites lived in the very heart of Palestine, close to 
the spot where they were encamped, and that they were 
of the very race which they were appointed to destroy. 
But they had sworn in the name of Jehovah not to de- 
stroy them. In this state of things, the princes and 
Joshua determined to punish them for their falsehood, 
and at the same time substantially observe their oath, 
by leaving them unhurt, but reducing them to slavery 
as the serfs of the Tabernacle and its ministers. In 
verses 23d and 2tth, Joshua told them: "Now, there- 
fore, ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed 
from being bondmen," (Ebed, i. e., slaves,) "and hew- 
ers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my 
God." "And Joshua made them that day hewers of 
wood and drawers of water for the congregation and 
for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in that 
place which he should choose." This compact the Gib- 
eonites seem gladly to have accepted. In 2d Samuel, 
ch. xxi., we find this same race of serfs still living 
among the Israelites, under the same compact. King 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 121 

Saul, David's predecessor, having broken it by killing 
many of them, God himself interposed, and required a 
satisfaction for the breach. Here we have evidence 
that the slaves of heathen origin were not freed by the 
Jubilee, for centuries had now elapsed and they were 
still slaves. We also see evidence that the contract 
made by Joshua was not regarded by God as unlawful. 
In this case, also, we find God accepting a religious of- 
fering of slaves for the service of his sanctuary. And 
those, while real slaves, did not belong each to an in- 
dividual master, but were slaves to an institution and a 
caste, a form of bondage always justly regarded as less 
benevolent than the former. 

Yet men say slavery is a wicked relation, which God* 
only tolerated and curbed in the Old Testament. The 
Lord's claiming his tythe of slaves (as of cattle and 
wheat) seems to the candid man a strange way of ex- 
pressing bare tolerance 1 AVas it not enough to leave 
the laity of the "holy people" polluted Avith the sin of 
slaveholding, without proceeding by his own express 
injunction to introduce the "taint" into the still more 
sacred caste of the priesthood ? Did the God j?f all 
holiness direct a part of the wages of iniquity to be set 
apart for his holy uses? Perhaps it may be said that 
He regarded the holy use as sanctifying the unholy 
source of the offering. The surmise is blasphemous. 
But see Deuteronomy xxiii. 18 : " Thou shalt not bring 
the hire of a whore or the price of a dog into the house 
of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these 
are abomination to the Lord thy God." To set apart to 
God's use property wickedly acquired was an insult to 
his holiness : and to offer Him even what was acquired 

6 



122 A DEFENCE OF VIEGINIA. 

by the sale of an animal ceremonially unclean, was re- 
sented as a type of the same sin. The consecration of 
these slaves to sacred uses is therefore the strongest 
possible proof that slaves are lawful property. To sum 
up : The divine permission and sanction of slavery to 
the very people whom God was setting apart to a holy 
life, the consecration of slaves as property to a sacred 
purpose, the regulating by law of the duties flowing 
from the relation, all prove, that it was then a lawful 
and innocent one. Otherwise, we should have the holy 
God teaching sin. If it was innocent once in its intrin- 
sic nature, it is innocent now, unless it has been sub- 
sequently prohibited by God. But no such prohibition 
can be shown. 

§ 6. Slavery in the Decalogue. 

Altlrough the Ten Commandments were given along 
with the civil and ceremonial laws of the Hebrews, we 
do not include them along with the latter, because the 
Decalogue was, unlike them, given for all men and all 
dispensations. It is a solemn repetition of the sum of 
those -duties founded on the natures of man and of 
God, and on their relations, enjoined on all ages alike. 
It contains nothing ceremonial, or of merely temporary 
obligation; (which is binding merely because it is com- 
manded;) but all is of perpetual, moral obligation. It 
claims to be, rightly explained, a perfect and complete 
rule. Our Saviour repeatedly adopts it as the eternal 
sum of all duty, on which hang all the law and the 
prophets, that is, all Scripture. Accordingly, we find 
that the mode of its republication gave to this Deca- 
logue a grandeur and weight shared by no secular or 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 123 

ceremonial precepts, Deuteronomy v. informs us that 
it was delivered first, tlius receiving the precedence, 
that it was spoken by God himself in articulate words, 
heard by all the quaking multitude, in tones of thunder, 
from the smoking summit of Sinai, with the terrible 
concomitants of angelic hosts, devouring fire, light- 
nings and earthquakes; that God added no more, thus 
refusing to all the subsequent precepts the honour of 
such a publication, and that He himself then engraved 
it on stone, signifying by the imperishable material, 
the perpetuity of this law. 

Hence, all the principles of right stated or implied in 
this Decalogue, are valid, not for Hebrews only, but for 
all men and ages. They rise wholly above the tempo- 
rary and positive precepts, which were only binding 
while they were expressly enjoined. They have not 
been, because they cannot be, repealed or modified; 
they are as immutable as God's perfections. In our 
Saviour's words, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot 
or one tittle of this law shall not pass away." 

Now, our argument is, that in this short summary, 
the relation of master and slave is mentioned twice ; 
and that in modes which are a recognition of its law- 
fulness. It is introduced as a basis of duties and rights 
founded upon it, and those rights are defended, and 
those duties enjoined. But if it were an imlawful re- 
lation, what rights could grow out of it except the 
slave's right to have it broken ? And what duties of 
the master could be founded on it, except the duties of 
discontinuing, repenting of, and repairing its wrongs ? 
In the 4th Commandment, Exod. xx. 10, it is made the 
master's duty to cause the slave to observe the Sabbath 



124 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

day. After the 8th Commandment had forbidden in- 
jury to our fellow-man's property in act, by overt theft, 
the 10th, (v. 11,) prohibits its injury even in thought 
by corrupt coveting. And in the enumeration of pos- 
sessions thus carefully covered from assault, are men- 
servants (cbed) and maid-servants, along with real es- 
tate and cattle. If the reader would feel the strength 
of the argument implied in these facts, let him ask 
himself what would have been his amazement, if, after 
the description which G^d's word gives of the authority, 
righteousness, purity, and perpetuity of this Decalogue, 
he had read in it, that highwaymen and pirates are com- 
manded to enforce Sabbath observance on their injured 
victims, and that we must not covet our neighbour's 
concubine, or the stolen goods in his possession ? And 
this, without hint of the guilt of violence, concubinage, 
and theft. It would be impossible for either under- 
standing or conscience to reconcile itself to the anom- 
aly; he would feel, inevitably, that God was incapable 
of such implied sanction of sin. 

§ 1. Objections to the Old Testament Argument. 

To state the arguments from the laws of Moses and 
the Decalogue has not required a large space, because 
those conclusions are so plain and sound, that many 
words were not needed. But the cavils, objections and 
special pleadings of the Abolitionists teem like the 
frogs of Egypt, engendered in the mire of ignorance 
and prejudice, so numerous because so worthless. 
And when it is seen that we perhaps expend more 
space in their refutation than we did in the direct ar- 



I 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 125 

gumcnt, the heedless reader may possibly be inclined 
to say to himself, that there must be something wrong 
in an argument to which so much can be objected. 
We beg him to observe then, that we pause to explode 
these objections, not because they are of any weight, 
but because we purpose to make thorough work with 
our opponents. When we have finished these re- 
joinders, we shall take the impartial reader to witness, 
that not only the weight, but the least appearance of 
plausibility in these cavils has been blown into thin 
air. And then we shall have the right to infer that 
their number indicates, not the questionable character 
of our positions, but only a fixed and blind prejudice 
against the truth in our adversaries. 

It is objected that domestic slavery among the He- 
brews was a much milder institution than in Virsrinia, 
and that, therefore, we have no right to argue from the 
one to the other. If it were true that Hebrew slavery 
was milder, it might show that we were wrong in the 
way in which we treated our slaves ; but it could not 
prove that slaveholding was wrong. The principle 
would still be established, for the lawfulness of the re- 
lation. But let it be noted that the peculiar mitigations 
of slavery affected only slaves of Hebrew blood, not 
Gentiles. Whatever may have been the leniency of the 
system, the state of the Gentile slaves showed the es- 
sential features of slavery among us, the right to the 
slave's labour for life without his consent, property in 
that labour, the right to buy, sell and bequeath it; the 
right to enforce it on the slave by corporal punish- 
ments, which might have any degree of severity short 
of death. (See Exod. xxi. 20, 21.) Virginians had no in- 



126 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tercst to contend for any stricter form of slavery than 
this. 

Second. It is said that the permission to buy, possess, 
and bequeath slaves of heathen origin, which we have 
cited, related only to the seven condemned tribes of 
Canaan, and was part of the divinely appointed pen- 
alty for their wickedness. Even such a man as Dr. 
Wayland, of Brown University, Rhode Island, has 
adopted this plea, thus justifying in a prominent in- 
stance the assertion that Abolitionism is grounded in a 
shameful ignorance of facts. The answer to the plea 
is, that it is expressly contrary to fact. The Hebrews 
were positively prohibited to reserve any of the seven 
condemned nations for slaves, and were enjoined to ex- 
terminate them all, lest the contagion of their vile 
morals should corrupt Israel. On the other hand, they 
were told that they might buy them slaves of any of 
the other Gentile nations around them, with whom they 
were to live on tci'ms of national amity. (See Deuter- 
onomy, XX. 10 to 18.) After directing the policy of the 
Hebrews towards conquered enemies from these na- 
tions, and permitting the enslaving of the captives, 
Moses proceeds: (v. 15.) " Thus shalt thou do unto 
all the cities which are very far off from thee, which 
are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities 
of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee 
for an inheritance, thou shalt save nothing alive that 
breatheth ; but thou shalt utterly destroy them, namely, 
the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the 
Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord 
thy God hath commanded thee; that they teach you not 
to do after all their abominations," etc. (See also, 
Josh. vi. n to 21; viii. 26; x. 28 to 32, etc., etc.) 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 127 

Third. It is objected from these very injunctions, that 
the examples of the commands given to the Israelites 
are no rules for us; that God commanded them to ex- 
terminate the seven nations of Canaan ; but if we 
should therefore proceed io attack and destroy a neigh- 
bouring nation which had not assailed us, it would be 
a horrible wickedness. It is asked: Were the fanatics 
of the English Commonwealth in the I7th century cor- 
rect when they justified their barbarities upon royalists 
l)y the examples of Joshua's slaughter of the Amorites, 
and Samuel's of Amalek? And we are told that our 
argument fi'om Hebrew slavery is of the same absurd 
kind. 

We reply: We willingly accept the instances. God's 
command to Joshua and Samuel to exterminate the Ca- 
naanites and Amalek, does prove that killing is not 
necessarily murder. This very instance gives us an 
unanswerable argument against those who oppose all 
capital punishments as wrong. And just so we employ 
the other instance, which our assailants say is parallel 
— Hebrew slavery — to prove that slaveholding is not 
necessarily sinful. But the instances are not parallel. 
The sanction of domestic slavery was a statute law for 
all generations of Hebrews ; the command to extermi- 
nate the seven tribes imposed a specific task on certain 
individuals. It is absurd to confound an executive 
command, given to particular men for the once, under 
particular circumstances, with the sanctions of a per- 
manent institution, designed to descend from genera- 
tion to generation. The command to exterminate the 
seven guilty tribes was the former, the permission to 
hold slaves the latter. True, the example of Joshua in 



128 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

blotting these tribes from existence, is no authority for 
us to do likewise, unless we also can show a direct di- 
vine commission authorizing us for a special case. But 
neither was that example authority to any subsequent 
generation of Hebrews, after Joshua, to exterminate 
any other pagan tribe. Will any one say that the au- 
thority given by Moses to his fellow-citizens to hold 
slaves was not just as good to enable subsequent gen- 
erations of Hebrews to hold slaves ? Prejudice cannot 
carry sophistry so far. There is, therefore, no analogy 
between the two cases, in the point necessary for 
grounding the objection to our argument. 

Fourth. It is said that Moses himself commanded 
that a runaway slave should not be surrendered to his 
master ; thereby plainly teaching that slaves had a 
right to their liberty, if they could escape. This, it is 
urged, proves that there must be some mistake in our 
conclusions. Of course, this passage is quoted tri- 
umphantly as settling the question against the fugitive 
slave-law, required by the late Constitution of the 
United States. It is found in Deuteronomy xxiii. 15, 
16: " Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant 
which is escaped from his master unto thee : he shall 
dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which 
he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it likcth him 
best ; thou shalt not oppress him," 

We need no better answer to this citation, than that 
given by a Northern divine already named, who is no 
friend to slavery, Kev. Moses Stuart. He says : " The 
first inquiry of course is : Where does his master live ? 
Among the Hebrews or among foreigners ? The lan- 
guage of the passage fully developes this, and answers 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 129 

the question. lie has ' escaped from his master unto 
the Hebrews.' (The text says, unto thee, i. e., Israel.) 
'He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in one of thy 
gates.* Of course then, he is an immigrant, and did 
not dwell among them before his flight. If he had been 
a Hebrew servant, belonging to a Hebrew, the whole 
face of the thing would be changed. Restoration or 
restitution, if we may judge by the tenour of other 
property laws among the Hebrews, would have surely 
been enjoined. But, be that as it may, the language of 
the text puts it beyond a doubt, that the servant is a 
foreigner and has fled from a heathen master." Mr. 
Stuart then proceeds to assign obvious reasons why a 
foreign servant escaping from a heathen master was 
not to be restored : tliat the bondage from which he 
escaped was inordinately cruel, including the power of 
murder for any caprice ; and that to force him back 
was to remand him to the darkness of heathenism, and 
to rob him of the light of true religion, which shone in 
the land of the Hebrews alone. He adds : " But if we 
put now the other case, viz. : that of escape from a He- 
brew master, who claimed and enjoyed Hebrew rights, 
is not the case greatly changed ? Who could take from 
him the property which the Mosaic law gave him a 
right to hold ? Neither the bondsman himself, nor the 
neighbours of the master to whom the fugitive might 
come. Reclamation of him could be lawfully made, and 
therefore must be enforced." This explanation forces 
itself upon our common sense. To suppose that Moses 
could so formally authorize and define slavery among 
the Hebrews, and then enact that every slave might 
gain his liberty by merely stepping over the brook or 

6* 



130 A DEFENCE OF VIRaiNIA. 

imaginary line which separated the little cantons of the 
tribes from each other, or even hy going to the next 
house of his master's neighbours, and claiming protec- 
tion, whenever petulance, or caprice, or laziness should 
move him thereto ; this is absurd ; it is trivial child's 
play. It takes away with one hand what it professed 
to give with the other. The fact that slavery continued 
to exist from age to age, is proof enough that the He- 
brews did not put the Abolitionist construction on the 
law. To this agree the respectable Hebrew antiqua- 
rians, as Home, etc. 

Fifth. If is urged that Eevelation was in its plan 
progressive, like the morning twilight ; that the Mosaic 
code was the early dawn ; that God, for wise reasons, 
left many points in darkness, which the full daylight of 
the Gospel has since shown to be sin. And, therefore, 
several practices, which we are now taught to be sin- 
ful, may have been ignorantly followed by good men, 
and tolerated by this imperfect legislation of God's- 
law. Yet if we, who enjoy a fuller revelation, should 
indulge in these practices, we should be guilty and dis- 
obedient. 

Grant this, for tlie present. Grant, for argument's 
sake, that it may have been consistent with the plan of 
revelation to make known at first only a partial rule of 
duty, leaving some sins unmentioned. Yet surely it 
was not consistent with the truth and holiness of God, 
to throw a false light in that partial revelation, on 
those parts of man's duty which he professed to reveal ! 
So far as any revelation from God goes, it must be a 
true and righteous one. If it undertook to fix a point 
of duty, it must fix it correctly, whatever else it might 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 131 

omit. Otherwise, we should have a holy, true, and 
good Creator, while professing to guide man to duty 
and life, misleading him to sin and death. Let now 
the reader note that the lawfulness of slavery was not 
one of the points omitted. God spake expressly upon 
it ; and what he said was to authorize it. 

But we do not admit that Moses' was an incomplete 
revelation in the sense of the Abolitionists. They are 
fond of representing the New Testament revelation as 
completing, amending, and correcting that of the Old. 
Its details the New Testament does complete ; but if it 
were amended or corrected by any subsequent standard 
of infallible truth, this would prove it not truly inspired. 
Indeed, the history of theological opinion shows plainly 
enough that this anti-slavery view of Old Testament 
revelation is Socinian and Ratiqjialistic. Modern Abo- 
litionism in America had, in fact, a Socinian birth, in 
the great apostasy of the Puritans of New England to 
that benumbing heresy, and in the pharisaism, shallow 
scholarship, affectation, conceit and infidelity of the 
Unitarian clique in the self-styled American Athens, 
Boston. It is lamentable to see how men professing to 
be evangelical are driven by blind prejudices against 
Southern men and things, to adopt this skeptical tone 
towards God's own word. The ruinous issue has been 
seen in the case of a minister of the Gospel, who, after 
floundering through a volume of confused and impotent 
sophisms, roundly declares that if compelled to admit 
that the Bible treated slavery as not a sin in itself, he 
would repudiate the Bible rather tRan his opinions. 

But we point these objectors to that Saviour who 
said, in the full meridian of revealed light of this Old 



132 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Testament law : " Whosoever shall keep these com- 
mandments shall enter into eternal life;" and to the fact 
that the Decalogue itself twice recognizes the right of 
the master. Will they say that this too was an old, 
partial, and imperfect revelation? Not so says the 
sweet Psalmist of Israel : " The law of the Lord is per- 
fect." Psalms, xix. T. Whatever Abolitionists may 
cavil, Jesus Christ acknowledged no more perfect rule 
of morals than the Ten Commandments, as expounded 
by the "law and the prophets." 

Sixth. An objection has been raised against the Old 
Testament argument, from the supposed permission of, 
or connivance at, polygamy and causeless divorce in 
the laws of Moses. This objection has been urged by 
Dr. Channing, the celebrated Unitarian, and since, in a 
more exact form, by I^. Wayland. In substance it is 
this : That polygamy was allowed by the Old Testa- 
ment law, and divorce for a less cause than conjugal 
infidelity was expressly permitted by Moses. But both 
these are as expressly forbidden as sinful by our Sa- 
viour. Matthew xix. 3 to 9. Therefore the main asser- 
tion in defence of slavery, on which the argument rest- 
ed, does not hold : for these two instances show that a 
thing is not intrinsically innocent because it was per- 
mitted for a time to the Jews. 

Our reply is, that both the premises of the objection 
are absolutely false. Polygamy and capricious divorce 
never were authorizrd by Old Testament law, in the 
sense in which domestic slavery was ; and, second, the 
latter was never prohibited in the New Testament, as 
polygamy and such divorces expressly are. Either of 
these facts, without the other, makes the objection in- 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 133 

valid, as we shall show ; but we shall establish both. 
Before doing this, however, we would ask : Suppose 
these assertions of Drs. Wayland and Channing proved 
that God expressly permitted polygamy and causeless 
divorce to his own chosen and holy people, and that 
Jesus Christ yet denounced these things as sins ; what 
is gained? Not only is this part of our defence of 
slavery overthrown, but the holiness of God is also 
overthrown ; or else the inspiration of the Scriptures. 
(The latter would be a result evidently not very repug- 
nant to Socinians and their sympathizers.) For then 
these Scriptures would make Him the teacher of sin to 
the very persons whom he was setting apart to peculiar 
holiness. If God did indeed authorize polygamy and 
causeless divorce in the Old Testament law, then the 
only inference for the devout mind is, that those things 
were then innocent, and would still be so, had not Christ 
afterwards forbidden them. Now, when we pass into 
the New Testament, and find that domestic slavery 
(which these objectors would make the parallel of 
polygamy and divorce without just cause) is not for- 
bidden there, as the latter two were, but is again per- 
mitted, authorized and regulated, we must conclude 
that it is still innocent, as it must have been when a 
holy God allowed it to his holy people. 

But the first part of the objectors' premise is also 
false ; polygamy and causeless divorce never were sanc- 
tioned by Moses as domestic slavery was. Even ad- 
mitting the more ignorant rendering of the matter, how 
wide is the difference in God's treatment of the two sub- 
jects ! Slaves are mentioned as lawful property, not 
only in the biographies of God's erring and fallible ser- 



134: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

vants, but in his own legislation ; the acquisition of 
them is a blessing from him ; their connexion with their 
masters is made the basis of religious sacraments ; prop- 
erty in slaves is protected by laws of divine enactment ; 
and the rights and duties of them and their masters de- 
fined. But when we pass to the subjects of plurality 
and change of wives, while we see the lives of imper- 
fect, though good men, candidly disclosing these abuses, 
no legislative act recognizes them, except in the single 
case of divorce. In all God's laws and precepts, He al- 
ways says wife, not wives, so carefully does He avoid 
a seeming allowance of a plurality. The Decalogue 
throws no protection around concubines, against the 
coveting of others. The rights and duties of polyga- 
mists are never defined by divine law, save in seeming 
exceptions which will be explained. How unlike is all 
this to the legislation upon slavery ! 

What has been already said leaves our argument im- 
pregnable. But so much misapprehension exists about 
the two cases, that the general interests of truth prompt 
a little farther separate discussion of each. The two 
enactments touching divorce which present the sup- 
posed contradiction in the strongest form, are those of 
Moses in Deuteronomy xxiv. 1 to 4, and Matthew xix. 
3 to 9. These the reader is requested to have under his 
eye. The form of the Pharisees' question to Christ, 
(" Is it lawful for a man to put away his Avife /or every 
cause?^') concurs with the testimony of Josephus, in 
teaching us that a monstrous perversion of Moses' stat- 
ute then prevailed. The licentious, and yet self-right- 
eous Pharisee claimed, as one of his most unquestioned 
privileges, the right to repudiate a wife, after the lapse 



THE OLD TESTAMENT AEGUMENT. 135 

of years, and birth of children, for any caprice whatso- 
ever. The trap which they now laid for Christ was de- 
signed to compel him either to incur the odium of at- 
tacking this usage, guarded by a jealous anger, or to 
connive at their interpretation of the statute. Mani- 
festly Christ does not concede that they interpreted 
Moses rightly; but indignantly clears the legislation of 
that holy man from their licentious perversions, and 
then, because of their abuse of it, repeals it by his plen- 
ary authority. He refers to that constitution of the 
marriage tie which was original, which preceded Moses, 
and was therefore binding when Moses wrote, to show 
that it was impossible he could have enacted what they 
claimed. What then did Moses enact? Let us explain 
it. In the ancient society of the East, females being 
reared in comparative seclusion, and marriages nego- 
tiated by intermediaries, the bridegroom had little op- 
portunity for a familiar acquaintance even with the 
person of the bride. When she was brought to him at 
the nuptials, if he found her disfigured with some per- 
sonal deformity or disease, (the undoubted meaning of 
the phrase " some uncleanness,") which effectually 
changed desire into disgust, he was likely to regard 
himself as swindled in the treaty, and to send the re- 
jected bride back with indignity to her father's house. 
There she was reluctantly received, and in the anom- 
alous position of one in name a wife, yet without a hus- 
band, she dragged out a wretched existence, incapable 
of marriage, and regarded by her parents and brothers 
as a disgraceful incumbrance. It was to relieve the 
wretched fate of such a woman, that Moses' law was 
framed. She was empowered to exact of her proposed 



136 A DEFENCE OF VIRGIN-IA. 

husband a formal annulment of the uncousummated con- 
tract, and to resume the stahts of a single woman, eli- 
gible for another marriage. It is plain that Moses' law 
contemplates the case, only, in which no consummation 
of marriage takes place. She finds no favour in the 
eyes " of the bridegroom." He is so indignant and dis- 
gusted, that desire is put to flight by repugnance. The 
same fact appears from the condition of the law, that 
she shall in no. case return to this man, " after she is 
defiled," i. e., after actual cohabitation with another 
man had made her unapproachable (without moral de- 
filement) by the first. Such was the narrow extent of 
this law. The act for which it provided was divorce 
only in name, where that consensus, qui matrimonium 
facit, (in the words of the law maxim,) had never been 
perfected. The state of social usages among the He- 
brews, with parental and fraternal severity towards the 
unfortunate daughter and sister, rendered the legisla- 
tion of Moses necessary, and righteous at the time; but 
"a greater than Moses" was now here; and he, after 
defending the inspired law-giver from their vile mis- 
representation, proceeded to repeal the law, because it 
had been so perverted, and because the social changes 
of the age had removed its righteous grounds. Let the 
Abolitionists show us a similar change in the law of 
domestic slavery, made by Christ, and we will admit 
that the moral conditions of the relation have changed 
since Moses' day. 

The case of the polygamist is still clearer; for we as- 
sert that the whole legislation of the Pentateuch and of 
all the Old Testament is only adverse to polygamy. 
As some Christian divines have taught otherwise, wc 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 137 

must ask the reader's attention and patience for a brief 
statement. Polygamy is recorded of Abraham, Jacob, 
Gideon, Elkanah, David, Solomon; but so are other sins 
of several of these; and, as every intelligent reader 
knows, the truthful narrative of holy writ as often dis- 
closes the sins of good men~for our warning, as their 
virtues for our imitation. And he who notes how, in 
every Bible instance, polygamy appears as the cause of 
domestic feuds, sin, and disaster, will have little doubt 
that the Holy Spirit tacitly holds all these cases up for 
our caution, and not our approval. But, then, God 
made Adani one wife only, and taught him the great 
law of the perpetual unity of the twain, just as it is 
now expounded by Jesus Christ. (Genesis ii. 23, 24, 
with Matthew xix. 4 to 6.) God preserved but one wife 
each to Noah and his sons. In every statute and pre- 
ceptive word of the Holy Spirit, it is always wife, and 
not wives. The prophets everywhere teach how to 
treat a wife, and not wives. Moses, Leviticus xviii. 18, 
in the code regulating marriage, expressly prohibits 
the marriage of a second wife in the life of the first, 
thus enjoining monogamy in terms as clear as Christ's. 
Our English version hath it : " Neither shalt thou take 
a wife to her sister to vex her, to uncover her naked- 
ness, besides the other, in her lifetime." Some have 
been preposterous enough to take the word sister here 
in its literal sense, and thus to force on the law the 
meaning that the man desiring to practise polygamy 
may do so provided he does not marry two daughters 
of the same parents; for if he did this, the two sisters 
sharing his bed would, like Rachel and Leah, quarrel 
more fiercely than two strangers. But the word "sis- 



138 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

fer" must undoubtedly be taken in the sense of mates, 
fellows, (which it bears in a multitude of places,) and 
this for two controlling reasons. The other sense makes 
Moses talk nonsense and folly, in the supposed reason 
for his prohibition; in that it makes him argue that two 
sisters sharing one man's bed will quarrel, but two 
women having no kindred blood will not. It is false to 
fact and to nature. Did Leah and Rachel show more 
jealousy than Sarah and Hagar, Hannah and Peninnah ? 
But when we understand the law in its obvious sense, 
that the husband shall not divide his bed with a second 
mate, the first still living, because such a wrong ever 
harrows and outrages the great instincts placed in wo- 
man's heart by her Creator, we make Moses talk truth 
and logick worthy of a profound legislator. The other 
reason for this construction is, that the other sense 
places the 18th verse in irreconcilable contradiction to 
the IGth verse. This forbids the marriage of a woman 
to the husband of her deceased sister; while the 18th 
verse, with this false reading, would authorize it. 

Once more : Malachi, (chapter ii. 14, 15,) rebuking 
the various corruptions of the Jews, evidently includes 
polygamy ; for he argues in favour of monogamy, (and 
also against causeless divorce,) from the fact that God, 
" who had the residue of the Spirit," and could as easily 
have created a thousand women for each man as a 
single one, made the numbers of the sexes equal from 
the beginning. He states this as the motive, "that he 
might seek a godly seed ;" that is to say, that the ob- 
ject of God in the marriage relation was the right rear- 
ing of children, which polygamy notoriously hinders. 
Now the commission of an Old Testament prophet was 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 139 

not to legislate a new dispensation ; for the laws of 
Moses were in full force ; the prophets' business was 
to expound them. Hence, we infer that the laws of 
tlie Mosaic dispensation on the subject of polygamy 
liad always been such as Malachi declared them. He 
was but applying Moses' principles. 

To the assertion that the law of the Old Testament 
discountenanced polygamy as really as the New Testa- 
ment, it Jias been objected that the practice was main- 
tained by men too pious towards God to be capable of 
continuing in it against express precept ; as, for in- 
stance, by the " king after God's own heart," David. 
Did not he also commit murder and adultery ? Surely 
there is no question whether Moses forbids these 1 The 
history of good men, alas, shows us too plainly the 
power of general evil example, custom, temptation, and 
self-love, in blinding the honest conscience. It has 
been objected that polygamy was so universally prac- 
tised, and so prized, that Moses would never have 
dared to attempt its extinction. When will men learn 
that the author of the Old Testament law was not Moses, 
but God ? Is God timid ? Does he fear to deal firmly 
with his creatures ? But it is denied that there is any 
evidence that polygamy was greatly prevalent among 
the Hebrews. And nothing is easier than to show, that 
if it had been, Moses was a legislator bold enough to 
grapple with it. What more hardy than his dealing 
with the sabbatical year, with idolati-y ? It is objected 
that the marriage of the widow who was childless to 
the brother of the deceased, to raise up seed to the 
dead, presents a case of polygamy actually commanded. 
We reply, no one can show that the next of kin was 



140 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

permitted or required to form such marriage when he 
ah-eady had a wife. The celebrated J. D. Michaelis, a 
witness learned and not too favourable, says, in his 
Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, of this law, " Nor 
did it affect a brother having already a wife of his 
own." Book III, ch. vi., § 98. It is objected that po- 
lygamy is recognized as a permitted relation in Deuter- 
onomy xxi. 15-17, where the husband of a polygamous 
marriage is forbidden to transfer the birthright from 
the eldest son to a younger, the child of a more favour- 
ed wife ; and in Exodus xxi. 9, 10, where the husband 
is forbidden to deprive a less favoured wife of her mar- 
ital rights and maintenance. Both these cases are ex- 
plained by the admitted principle, that there may be 
relations which it was sin to form, and which yet it is 
sinful to break when formed. No one doubts whether 
the New Testament makes polygamy unlawful ; yet it 
seems very clear that the apostles gave the same in- 
structions to the husbands of a plurality of wives en- 
tering the Christian church. There appears, then, no 
evidence that polygamy was allowed in the laws of 
Moses. 

We have thus shown that the objection of Dr. Chan- 
ning to our Old Testament argument for the lawfulness 
of domestic slavery, is false in both its premises. First, 
it is not true that Moses sanctioned polygamy and 
causeless divorce in the sense in which he sanctioned 
slavery. And second, if he did, it would prove that 
those practices were lawful until they were prohibited 
by our Redeemer; but domestic slavery has met no such 
prohibition from him, and is therefore lawful still. If not, 
why did the divine Reformer strike down the two "sis- 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 141 

ter sins," and leave the third, tlie giant evil, untouched? 
There is but one answer : He did not regard it as a sin. 

If too much space has been devoted to this objection, 
the apology is, that it is a subject much misunderstood 
by Christian divines. The explanation is, that the 
study of Hebrew antiquities has, in our day, been left 
so much to German rationalists and secret Socinians ; 
the late essays of British and Yankee scholars being to 
so great a degree servile imitations of theirs. But 
these skeptical literati of Germany, while wearing the 
clergyman's frock for the sake, of the emoluments of an 
established church, have usually been unsanctified men, 
harbouring the most contemptuous views of Old Testa- 
ment inspiration. The reader will bear in mind that, 
whether he is convinced, with us, that Moses actually 
prohibited polygamy, or not, the refutation of the Abo- 
litionist objection is still perfectly valid. 

The seventh and last objection against our Old Testa- 
ment argument consists of various passages from the 
Hebrew prophets, which denounce the oppression of 
the poor, and the withholding of the labouring man's 
wages. Every phrase which sounds at all like their 
purpose is violently seized by the Abolitionists, and 
pressed incontinently into the service of condemning 
slavery, without regard to the sacred writer's intention 
or meaning. Were all the texts thus wrested discussed 
here, this section would be swelled into a book. A few 
passages which our opponents regard as their strongest 
will be cited, therefore ; and the reply to these will be 
an answer to all. One such is Isaiah, Iviii. 6 : "Is not 
this the fast which I have chosen, to loose the bands of 
wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the 



142 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

oppressed go free ; and that ye break every yoke ?" 
Another is found in Jeremiah xx. 13 : " Woe unto him 
that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his 
chambers by wrong ; that useth his neighbour's ser- 
vices without wages, and giveth him not for his work." 
Another is in Jeremiah xxxiv. 11 : "Therefore, thus 
saith the Lord: Ye have not hearkened unto me in pro- 
claiming liberty every man to his brother, and every 
man to his neighbour." And to find a scriptural stone 
to pelt the fugitive slave-law, they quote Isaiah xvi. 3 : 
" Hide the outcasts ; bewray not him that wandereth." 
Now, one would think that it should have given some 
pause to these perversions of Scripture, to remember that 
these same prophets were undoubtedly slaveholders. 
Witness, for instance, Elisha, who was so large a slave- 
holder as to have eleven ploughmen at once, and who, af- 
ter he devoted himself exclusively to his prophetic minis- 
try, still had his servants, Gchazi and others. (2 Kings, 
V. 20, and vi. 15.) How could they have aimed such de- 
nunciations at slave-owners, and escaped the sarcasm, 
" Physician, heal thyself ?" It should have been remem- 
bered again, that Moses' laws, in which slaveholding 
was expressly sanctioned, were enacted by authority 
just as divine as that by which Isaiah and Jeremiah 
preached ; that Moses was more a prophet than even 
they — " the greatest of the prophets ;" that his laws 
Avere still in full force; that they bore to these prophets' 
instructions the relation of text to exposition; and that 
always the great burden of their accusations against 
their guilty countrymen was, that they had forsaken 
Moses' statutes. Were the guardians and expounders 
of the Constitution armed with power not only to repeal. 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 143 

but to vilify, the very law which they were appointed 
to expound ? May the sermon contradict its own text ? 
Before these rebukes of oppression can be applied, 
then, as God's condemnation of domestic slavery, it 
must be proved that in His view slavery is oppression. 
To take this for granted is a begging of the whole 
question in debate. But not only is it not proved by 
any such texts ; it is obvious from the above remarks, 
that it cannot be provtfd by them, unless God can be 
made to contradict himself. But when we examine a 
little the connected words of these prophets themselves, 
we learn from them what they do mean ; and we see an 
instance, ludicrous if it were not too painful, of the 
heedless folly with which the Word of God is abused. 
Thus, in Isaiah, Iviii. 6, 7, we proceed to the very next 
words, and learn that the duty in hand consists in 
"bringing to their homes the poor that are cast out," 
and being charitable to " their own flesh." Were the 
Gentile slaves of the Hebrews " their own flesh" in the 
sense of the Old Testament, i. c., their kindred by blood? 
Manifestly, the 'phrase intends their fellow-citizens of 
Hebrew blood in distress. Are slaveholders in danger 
of sinning by driving away from their houses their do- 
mestic slaves ; and do they need objurgation to make 
them receive them back ? Such is the " infinite non- 
sense" forced upon Isaiah's words by Abolitionists. 
There is, then, no reference here to the emancipation 
of Gentile slaves ; but to the duties of charity, justice 
and hospitality towards the oppressed of their fellow- 
citizens. And if the passage has any reference to ser- 
vants, it is only to the sin of detaining Hebrew servants 
bej'ond the Sabbatical year's release. 



144 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

When we turn to Jeremiah xxii. 13, a glance at the 
connexion shows us that the woe against using a neigh- 
bour's services without wages, is denounced against 
Shallum, the wicked king of Judah, who built his pal- 
aces, not by his domestic servants, but by unlawfully 
impressing his political subjects. Such is the marvel- 
lous accuracy of Abolitionist exposition ! So in Jere- 
miah xxxiv. 1*1, which rebukes the Jews for not "pro- 
claiming every man liberty to his brother," one little 
question should have staggered our zealous accusers : 
Were Gentile slaves " brethren" to Jews, in the sense 
of the prophet ? And we have only to carry the eye 
back to verse 14, to see him explaining himself, that 
they did not comply with the Mosaic law, "at the end 
of seven years to let go every man his brother a He- 
brew, which hath been sold unto thee." From the obli- 
gation of that law, the masters of Gentiles were ex- 
pressly excepted. 

But the illustration of crowning folly is Isaiah xvi. 
3, which is so boldly wrested to countenance the har- 
bouring of runaway slaves. The words are not the 
language of the prophet at all I The chapter is a 
dramatic picture of the distress of the pagan nations 
near Judca, and especially of Moab, one among them, 
in a time of invasion which 'Isaiah denounces upon 
them in punishment for their sin ; and this verse repre- 
sents the fugitive Moabites as entreating Jews for con- 
cealment and protection when pursued by their enemies. 
So that there is no slave nor slaye-owner in the case at 
all ; nor does the prophet's language contain any thing 
to imply whether it was righteous or not for the Jews 
to grant the request of these affrighted sinners in the 
hour of their retribution. 



THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 145 

We have now reviewed, perhaps at too much length, 
the various impotent attempts made to escape from the 
meshes of our inexorable Old Testament argument. It 
is an argument short, plain, convincing. Although 
every thing enjoined on the Hebrews is not necessarily 
enjoined on us, (because it may have been of temporary 
obligation,) yet every such thing must be innocent in 
its nature, because a holy God would not sanction sin 
to his holy people, in the very act of separating them 
to holiness. But slaveholding was expressly sanction- 
ed as a permanent institution ; the duties of masters 
and slaves are defined ; the rights of masters protected, 
not only in the civic but the eternal moral law of God ; 
and He himself became a slave-owner, by claiming 
an oblation of slaves for his sanctuary and priests. 
Hence, while we do not say that modern Christian na- 
tions are bound to hold slaves, we do assert that no 
people sin by merely holding slaves, unless the place 
can be shown where God has uttered a subsequent pro- 
hibition. But there is no such place, as the next chap- 
ter will show. While we well know that to secret in- 
fidels and rationalists, as all Abolitionists are, this has 
no weight, to every mind which reverences the inspira- 
tion of the Old Testament it is conclusive. And let 
every Christian note, that with the inspiration of the 
Old Testament stands or falls that of Christ and the 
apostles, because they commit themselves irretrievably 
to the support of the former. 

1 



146 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 



CHAPTEE VI. 

THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 

Inspiration always represents the New Testament as 
its final teaching. Revelation is there completed; and 
all the instruction concerning right and wrong which 
man is ever to ask from God, must be sought in this 
book. We have done, then, with all sophistical pleas 
concerning the twilight of revelation: for we have come 
now to the meridian splendour. If slaveholding was 
allowed to the Old World for the hardness of its heart, 
here we may expect to see it repealed. Wherever the 
New Testament leaves the moral character of slavery, 
there it must stand. What, then, is its position here? 

§ 1. Definition of AovXog. 

The word commonly translated servant in the author- 
ized version of the New Testament is SovXog^ (doulos,) 
which is most probably derived from the verb 6eu), (deo,) 
' I bind.' Hence the most direct meaning of the noun 
is 'bondsman.' Many Abolitionists, with a reckless 
violence of criticism which cannot be too sternly rep- 
robated, have endeavoured to evade the crushing testi- 
mony of the New Testament against their dogma, by 
denying that this word there means slave. Some of 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 147 

them Avould make it mean son, some hired servant^ and 
some subject, or dependent citizen. Even Mr. Albert 
Barnes, in his Commentaries on the Epistles, denies that 
the word carries any evidence that a servile relation, 
proper, is intended by the sacred writers. Every hon- 
est and well-informed biblical scholar feels that it would' 
be an insult to his intelligence to suppose that a dis- 
cussion of this preposterous assertion was needed for 
him: but as our aim is the general reader, we will 
briefly state the evidence that SovXog, when not meta- 
phorical, means in the mouth of Christ and his apostles 
a literal, domestic slave. 

Judea and the Koman Empire in their day were full of 
domestic slaves, so that in many places they were more 
numeVous than the free citizens. AovXog is confessedly 
the word used for slave by secular writers of antiquity, 
in histories, statutes, works on political science, such 
as Aristotle's, in the allusions of Greeks to the Roman 
civil law, where they make it uniformly their translation 
for Serviis, so clearly and harshly defined in that law 
as a literal slave. Did apostles and evangelists use the 
Greek language of their day correctly and honestly? 
And if dovXog in them does not mean slave, there is no 
stronger word within the lids of the New Testament 
that does ; (nor in the Greek language ;) so that there 
is in all the apostolic histories and epistles, no allusion 
to this world-wide institution which surrounded them ! 
Who believes this? Again: The current Greek trans- 
lation of the Old Testament, the Septuagiut, whose id- 
ioms are more imitated in the New Testament than any 
other book, uses dovXog, as in Leviticus xxv. 44, for 
translation of the Med, bought with money from the 



148 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Gentiles. The places where the New Testament writers 
use dovXog metaphorically imply the meaning of slave as 
the literal one, because the aptness of the trope depends 
on that sense. Thus, Acts iv. 29, xvi. 17, Komans i. 1, 
apostles are called God's dovXoi, servants, to express 
God's purchase, ownership and authority over them, and 
their strict obedience. Make the literal sense any thing 
less than slave proper, and the strength and beauty of 
the trope are gone. Again, the word is often used in 
contrast with so7i, and 2)olitical subject, so as to prove a 
different meaning. Thus, John viii. 34, 35: "Whoso- 
ever committeth sin is the servant (dovXog) of sin. And 
the SovXog abid^th not in the house forever: but the son 
abideth ever." Luke xix. 13, 14: "He called his ten 
dovXoi, and delivered them ten pounds, etc. ; but his 
citizens {TToXirai = political subjects) hated him," etc. 
Galatians iv. 1: " Now the heir, as long as he is a child, 
dififereth nothing from a SovXog, though he be lord of 
all, but is under tutors and governors," etc. In con- 
clusion : all well-informed and candid expositors tell 
us, that by dovXog, the New Testament means slave. 
We may mention Drs. Bloomfield, Hodge, and Trench. 
The classical authorities of the Greek language give 
this as the most proper meaning ; and the biblical lexi- 
cons of the New Testament Greek testify the same. Of 
the latter, we may cite Dr. Edward Eobinson, of New 
York, no friend to slavery. He says : 

"Aoi;Aof ov. b =(subst. fr. (Jew,) a bondsman, a slave, 
servant, properly by birth, diff. from avSpoirodov, ' one 
enslaved in war.' Compare Xen. Anab. iv. 1, 12, 
aixfi-aX(^Ta avdparroda. Hell. i. 6, 15 ; Thuc. viii. 28, ra 
avdpaTToda Tcavra, aai dovXa Kat eXtvdepa. But such 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 149 

a captive is sometimes called SovXog, Xen. Cyr. 3, 
1, 11, 19, ib., 4, 4, 12. Different also fi'om odiaKovog, 
see that art. No. 1. In a family, the SovXog was one 
bound to serve, a slave, the property of his master, a 
'living possession,' as Aristotle calls him, Pol. 1, 4, 
bdovXog KTTjixa ti eix'xjjvxov. Compare Gen. xvii. 12, 2T; 
Exod. xii. 44. According to the same writer, a complete 
household consisted of slaves and freemen, Polit. 1, 3. 
oiKia de reXeiog en dovXuv km eXevdepuv. The dovXog, 
therefore, was never a hired servant, the latter being 
called iiiadiog, fiiodo)Tog, q. v. Dr. Robinson then pro- 
ceeds to define SovXog in detail as meaning, " 1, Prop- 
erly of involuntary service, a slave, servant, as opposed 
to eXev-&epog. 2, Tropically, of voluntary service, a ser- 
vant, implying obligation, obedience, devotedness. 3, 
Tropically, a minister, attendant, spoken of the officers 
and attendants of an Oriental court, who are often 
strictly slaves." 

§ 2. Slavery often mentioned; yet not condemned. 

The mere absence of a condemnation of slaveholding 
in the New Testament is proof that it is not unlawful. 
In showing that there is no such condemnation, we are 
doing more than we could be held bound to do by any 
logical obligation : we might very properly throw the 
burden of proof here upon our accusers, and claim to 
be held innocent until we can be proved to be guilty by 
some positive testimony of holy writ. But our cause is 
so strong, that we can afford to argue ex abundantia; 
to assert more than we are bound to show. We claim 
then the significant fact, that there is nowhere any re- 



150 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

buke of slaveholding, in express terms, in tho New 
Testament. Of the truth of this assertion it is suffi- 
cient proof, that Abolitionists, with all their malignant 
zeal, have been unable to find a single instance, and are 
compelled to assail us only with inferences. The ex- 
press permission to hold slaves given by Moses to God's 
people, is nowhere repealed by the ' greater than Moses,' 
the Divine Prophet of the new dispensation. Let the 
reader consider how this fact is strengthened by the 
attendant circumstances. Christ and his apostles 
preached in the midst of slaves and slaveholders. The 
institution was exceedingly prevalent in many parts of 
the world. Potter tells us that in Athens, (a place 
where Paul preached,) the freemen citizens, possessed 
of franchises, were twenty-one thousand, and the slaves 
four hundred thousand. The congregations to which 
Christ and his apostles preached, were composed of 
masters and their slaves. The slavery of that day, as 
defined by the Eoman civil law, was harsh and oppres- 
sive, treating the slave as 9. legal nonentity, without 
property, rights, or legal remedy; without marriage, 
subject, even as to his life, to the caprice of his master, 
and in every respect a human beast of burden. Again: 
to this institution Christ and his apostles make many 
allusions, for illustration of other subjects; and upon 
the institution itself they often speak didactically. Yet, 
while often condemning the abuses and oppressions in- 
cident to it, they never condemn the relation. Several 
times the apostles give formal enumerations of the prev- 
alent sins of their times ; as in Romans i. 29, 31; Ga- 
latians v. 19 to 21; Matthew xv. 19; Colossians iii. 8, 
9; 2 Timothy iii. 2 to 4. These catalogues of sins are 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 151 

often full and minute; but the owning of slaves never 
appears among them. 

Now, we are entitled to claim, that this silence of 
the later and final revelation leaves the lawfulness of 
slaveholding in full force, as expressly established in 
the earlier. On that allowance we plant ourselves, and 
defy our accusers to bring the evidence of its repeal. 
On them lies the burden of proof. And we have indi- 
cated by the circumstances detailed above, how crush- 
ing that burden will be to them. 

This is the most appropriate place to notice the eva- 
sion attempted from the above demonstration. They 
plead that slavery is not specially forbidden in the 
New Testament, because the plan of the Bible is to 
give us a rule of morals, not by special enactments for 
every case, but by general principles of right, which 
we must apply to special cases as they arise. " Inspi- 
ration has not," say they, " specially condemned every 
possible sin which may occur in the boundless varieties 
of human affairs, because then the whole world would 
not contain the books that should be written ; and the 
voluminous character of the rule of duty would disap- 
point its whole utility; and if any sin were omitted in 
order to abridge it, this would be taken as a sanction. 
Hence, God gives us a set of plain general principles, 
of obvious application under the law of love." There- 
fore, it is argued, we are not to expect that the sin of 
slaveholding should be singled out. Enough that gen- 
eral principles given exclude it. 

There is a portion of truth in this statement of the 
matter, and in the grounds assigned for it. But waiv- 
ing for the present the exposure of the groundless as- 



152 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

sertion that there are any general principles in the New 
Testament condemnatory of slaveholding, we deny that 
this book teaches morals only by general rules. It also 
does it, in a multitude of cases, by special precepts. A 
multitude of special sins prevalent in that and all ages 
are singled out. This being so — the lists of particular 
sins being so full and specific as they are — we assert 
it would have been an unaccountable anomaly to pass 
over a thing so important, open, prevalent, had it been 
intrinsically wrong. But why does Revelation omit a 
number of particulars, and state general principles? 
For the lack of room, it is said. The other plan would 
have made the Bible too large. Now we ask, as the 
case actually stands in the New Testament, would not 
a good deal of room have been saved as to slavery, by 
simply specifying it as wrong ? It is a queer way to 
economize space, thus to take up a subject, define it at 
large, limit, modify it, I'etrench its abuses, lay down in 
considerable detail a part of its duties and relations; 
and then provide by some general principle for its ut- 
ter prohibition ! Would not the obvious way have been, 
to say in three plain words, what was the only funda- 
mental thing, after all, which, on this supposition, need- 
ed to be taught, " Slaveiy is sinful ?" This would have 
settled the matter, and also have saved space and am- 
biguity, and made an end of definitions, limitations, 
abuses, inferences and all, in the only honest way. But 
farther, we admit that the Bible has left a multitude of 
new questions, emerging in novel cases, to be settled 
by the fair application of general principles, (which are 
usually illustrated in Scripture by application to some 
specific case.) Now must not an honest mind argue. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AEGUMENT. 153 

that since the human understanding is so fallible in in- 
ferential reasonings, especially on social ethics, where 
the premises are so numerous and vague, and prejii- 
dices and interests so blinding, a special precept, where 
one is found applicable, is better than an inference 
probably doubtful? Will it not follow a 'thus saith 
the Lord,' if it has one, rather than its own deduction 
which may be a blunder? Well, then, if God intended 
us to understand that he had implicitly condemned 
slavery in some general principles given, it was most 
unlucky that He said any thing specific aboiit it, which 
was not a specific condemnation. For what He has 
specifically said about it must* lead His most honest 
servants to conclude that He did not intend to leave it 
to be settled by general inference, that He exempted it 
from that class of subjects. Had God not alluded to it 
by name, then we should have been more free to apply 
general principles to settle its moral character, as w^e 
do to the modern duel, not mentioned in Scripture, be- 
cause it is wholly a modern usage. But since God has 
particularized so much about slaveholding, therefore, 
honesty, humility, piety, require us to study his specific 
teachings in preference to our supposed inferences, and 
even in opposition to them. Here, then, we stand: In- 
spiration has once expressly authorized slaveholding. 
Until a repeal is found equally express, it must be in- 
nocent. 

§•3. Christ applauds a Slaveholder. 

Our Lord has thrown at least a probable light upon 
his estimation of slaveholders by his treatment of the 



154 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Centurion of Capernaum, and his slave. The story may 
be found in Matthew viii. 5 to 13, and Luke vii. 2 to 10. 
This person, though a Gentile and an officer of the Ro- 
man army, was, according to the testimony of his Jew- 
ish neighbours, a sincere convert to the religion of the 
Old Testament, and a truly good man. He had a val- 
ued slave very sick, called in Matthew his "boy," (naig,) 
a common term for slave in New Testament times ; 
but Luke calls him again and again his " slave," (dovXog.) 
Hearing of Christ's approach, he sent some of his He- 
brew neighbours, (rulers of the synagogue,) to beseech 
our Lord to apply his miraculous power for the healing 
of his sick slave. A Rttle later he appears himself, and 
explains to Jesus, that it was not arrogance, but hu- 
mility, which prevented his meeting him at first, with 
his full confidence. For as he, though a poor mortal, 
was caabled, by the authority of an officer and master, 
to make others come and go at his bidding, so he knew 
that Christ could yet more easily bid away his servant's 
disease. And therefore he had not deemed it necessary 
.to demand (what he was unworthy to receive) an actual 
visit to his house. Hereupon Christ declares with de- 
light, that he " had not found so great faith, no, not in 
Israel." This was higli praise indeed, after the faith of 
a Nathanael, a John, a James, a Mary Magdalene, a 
Martha, and a Lazarus. Yet this much-applauded man 
was a slaveholder ! But our Lord comes yet nearer to 
the point in dispute. He speaks the word, and heals 
the slave, thus restoring him to the master's possession 
and use. Had the relation been wrong, here, now, was 
an excellent opportunity to set things right, when he 
had before him a subject so docile, so humble, so grate- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 155 

ful and trustful. Should not Christ have said : "Hon- 
est Centurion, you owe one thing more to your sick 
fellow-creature : his liberty. You have humanely sought 
the preservation of his being, which I have now grant- 
ed ; but it therefore becomes my duty to tell you, lest 
silence in such a case should confirm a sinful error, that 
your possession of him as a slave outrages the laws of 
his being. I cannot become accomplice to wrong. The 
life which I have rescued, I claim for liberty, for right- 
eousness. I expect -it of your faith and gratitude, that 
instead of begrudging the surrender, you will thank me 
for enlightening you as to your eiTor." But no ; Christ 
says nothing like this, but goes his way and leaves the 
master and all the people blinded by his extraordinary 
commendation of the slave-owner, and his own act in 
restoring the slave to him, to blunder on in the belief 
that slavery was all right. Certain we are, that had 
Dr. Channing, or Dr. Wayland, or the most moderate 
Abolitionist, been the miracle-worker, he would have 
made a very dilFerent use of the occasion. However 
he might have hesitated as to immediate and universal 
emancipation, he would have felt that the opportunity 
was too fair to be lost, for setting up a good strong 
precedent against slavery. Hence we feel sure that 
Christ and they are not agreed in the moral estimate of 
the relation. 

§ 4*. The Apostles separate Slavery and its Abuses. 

We find the apostles everywhere treating slavery, in 
one particular, as the Abolitionists refuse to treat it; 
that is to say, distinguishing between the relation and 



156 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

its incidental abuses. Our accusers now claim a license 
from the well-known logical rule, that it is not fair to 
argue from the abuses of a thing to the thing itself. 
Hence they insist that in estimating slavery, we must 
take it in the concrete, as it is in these Southern States, 
with all that bad men or bad legislation may at any 
time have attached to it. And if any feature attaching 
to an aggravated case of oppression should be proved 
wrong, then the very relation of master and slave must 
be held wrong in itself. The bald and insolent sophis- 
try of this claim has been already alluded to. By this 
way it could be proved that marriage, civil government 
and church government, as well as the parental rela- 
tion, are intrinsically immoral ; for all have been and 
are abused, not only by the illegal license of individual 
bad men, but by bad legislation. Just as reasonably 
might a monk say to all Mohammedans, that marriage 
is a sin, f©r the character of the institution must be 
tried in the concrete, with all the accessaries which usu- 
ally attend it in Mohammedan lands, and most certain- 
ly with such as are established by law; and among 
these is polygamy, which is sinful ; wherefore the mar- 
riage relation is wrong. And this preposterous logick 
has been urged, although it has been proved that, in 
the vast majority of cases in these States, masters did 
preserve the relation to their slaves, without connect- 
ing with it a single one of the incidents, whether al- 
lowed by law or not, which are indefensible in a'moral 
view. To say that the relation was sinful, in all these 
virtuous citizens, because some of the occasional inci- 
dents were sinful, is just as outrageous as to tell the 
Christian mother that her authority over her cliild is a 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 157 

wicked tyranny, because some drunken wretch near by 
has been guilty of child-murder. But our chief purpose 
here is to show, that the apostles were never guilty of 
tliis absurdity; and that, on the contrary, they separa- 
ted between the relation and its abuses, just as Chris- 
tian masters now claim to do. 

Let the reader note then, that the type of slavery 
prevailing where the apostles preached, was, compared 
with ours, barbarous, cruel, and wicked in many of its 
customary incidents, as established both by usage and 
law. Slaves were regarded as having neither rights 
nor legal remedies. No law protected their life itself 
against the master. There was no recognized marriage 
for them, and no established parental or filial relations.. 
The chastity of the female slave was unprotected by 
law against her master. And the temper of society 
sanctioned the not infrequent use of these powers, in 
the ruthless separation of families, inhuman punish- 
ments, hard labour, coarse food, maiming, and even 
murder. Such were the iniquities which history as- 
sures us connected themselves only too often with this 
relation in the apostles' days, and were sanctioned by 
human laws. 

But did they provoke these inspired lawgivers to 
condemn the whole institution ? By no means. As we 
have seen, they nowhere pronounce the relation of 
master and slave an inherent wrong. They every- 
where act as though it might be, and when not abused, 
was, perfectly innocent. And that it might be inno- 
cent, they forbade to the members of the Christian 
church all these abuses of it. Thus they separated be- 
tween the relation and its abuses. Doubtless, the 



158 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

standard which they had in view, in commanding" mas- 
ters to "render to their servants those things which 
are just and equal," ivas the Mosaic law. We have seen 
how far this was in advance of the brutalities permit- 
ted by pagan laws, and how it protected the life, 
limbs, and chastity of servants among the Hebrews. 
This law, being founded in righteousness, was in its 
general spirit the rule of the Ncav Testament church 
also. When this separation is made by the apostles 
between the relation and its abuses, we find that 
the former includes, as its essentials, just these ele- 
ments : a right to the slave's labour for life, coupled 
with the obligation on the master to use it with justice 
and clemency, and to recompense the slave with a 
suitable maintenance ; and on the slave's part, the ob- 
ligation to render this labour with all good fidelity, and 
with a respectful obedience. Is not this just the defini- 
tion of slavery with which we set out ? 

§ 5. Slavery no Essential Religious Evil. 

The Apostle Paul teaches that the condition of a 
slave, although not desirable for its own sake, has no 
essential bearing on the Christian life and progress; 
and therefore, when speaking as a Christian minister, 
and with exclusive reference to man's religious in- 
terests, he treats it as unimportant. The proof of this 
statement may be found in such passages as the follow- 
ing : 1 Cor. xii. 13, "For by one Spirit we are all bap- 
tized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, 
whether we be bond or free : and have all been made 
to drink into one Spirit." Galat. iii. 28, "There is 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 159 

neither Jew nor Greek ; there is neither bond nor free ; 
there is neither male nor female ; for we are all one in 
Jesus Christ." So, substantially, says Colos. iii. 11. 
But the most decisive passage is 1 Cor. vii. 20, 21: "Let 
every man abide in the same calling wherein he was 
called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for 
it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather." 
(Paul had just defined his meaning in the phrase "call- 
ing in which he was called," as being circumcised or 
uncircumcised, bond or free.) 

The drift of all these passages is to teach that a man's 
reception by Christ and by the Church does not de- 
pend in any manner on his class or condition in secular 
life ; because Christianity places all classes on the 
same footing as to the things of thg soul, and offers to 
all the same salvation. When, therefore, men come to 
the throne of grace, the baptismal water, the commu- 
nion table, distinctions of class are left behind them 
for the time. Hence, these distinctions are not essen- 
tial, as to the soul's salvation. The last passage 
quoted brings out the latter truth more distinctly. Is 
any Christian, at his conversion, a Jew? That circum- 
stance is unimportant to his religious life. Was he a 
Gentile ? That also is unimportant. Was he a slave 
when converted to Christ ? Let not this concern him, 
for it cannot essentially affect his religious welfare : 
■ the road to heaven is as open to him as to the freeman. 
But if a convenient and lawful opportunity to acquire 
his freedom, with the consent of his master, occurs, 
then freedom is to be preferred. Such is the meaning 
found in the words by all sober expositors, including 
those of countries where slavery does not exist. Who 



160 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

can believe that the apostle would have taught thus, if 
slavery had becu an iniquitous relation ? 

But when he tells the Christian servant that freedom 
is to be preferred by him to bondage, if it may be right- 
fully acquired, we must remember the circumstances of 
the age, in order to do justice to his meaning. The 
same apostle, speaking of marriage, says, "Art thou 
loosed from a wife ? seek not to be bound." Does he 
mean to set himself against the holy estate of matri- 
mony, and to contradict the divine wisdom which said 
that "it is not good for man to be alone?" By no 
means. He explains himself as advising thus "because 
of the present distress." Exposure to persecution, 
banishment, death, made it a step of questionable pru- 
dence at that time,^to assume the responsibilities of a 
husband and father. Now the laws and usages of the 
age as to slaves were, as we have seen, harsh and op- 
pressive. But worse than this, many masters among 
the heathen were accustomed to require of their slaves 
offices vile, and even guilty; and scruples of conscience 
on the slave's part were treated as an absurdity or re- 
bellion. In such a state of society, although the rela- 
tion of servitude was not in itself adverse to a holy 
life, the prudent man would prefer to be secured 
against the possibility of such a wrong, by securing 
his liberty if he lawfully could. Moreover, society of- 
fered a grade, and a career of advancement, to the* 
"freedman" and his children. Master and slave were 
of the same colour ; and a generation or two would ob- 
literate by its unions the memory of the servile con- 
dition. But in these States, where the servant's rights 
were so much better protected by law and usage, and 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 161 

where the freed servant, being' a black, finds himself 
only deprived of his master's patronage, and still de- 
barred as much as ever from social equality by his col- 
our and caste, the case may be very different. Free- 
dom to the Christian slave here, may prove a loss. 

Now who can believe that the Apostle Paul would 
have spoken thus of slavery, if he had thought it an 
injurious and iniquitous relation, as hostile to religion, 
as dcgi-ading to the victim's immortal nature, and as 
converting him from a rational person into a chattel, a 
human brute ? He treats the condition of bondage, in 
its religious aspects, precisely as he does accidents of 
birth, being born circumcised or uncircumcised, a citi- 
zen of the Empire or a subject foreigner, male or fe- 
male. We have a practical evidence how incompatible 
such language is with the Abolitionist first principle, 
in their very different conduct. Do they ever say to 
the Christian slave : "Art thou called being a servant? 
care not for it." We trow not. They glory in teach- 
ing every slave they can to break away from his bond- 
age, even at the cost of robbery and murder. And Mr. 
Albert Barnes informs his readers, that in his inter- 
views with runaway slaves, he long ago ceased to in- 
struct them that it was their duty to return to their 
masters. • It is evident, therefore, that this abolitionist 
and St. Paul were not agreed. 

§ 6. Slaveholders fully Admitted to Church-member sM]?. 

We now proceed, in the sixth place, to a fact of still 
greater force : that slaveholders were admitted by 
Christ to full communion and good standing in the 
Christian church. Let us first establish the fact. In 



163 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Acts X. 5-1 1, we leavn that the pious Cornelius had 
at least two household servants, {oiKeroyv, one of the 
Septuagint words for domestic slave.) There is no 
hint of his liberating them ; but the Apostle Peter tells 
his brethren, Acts xi. 15-11, that he was obliged to ad- 
mit him by baptism to the church, by the act of God 
himself. Says he: "Forasmuch then as God gave 
them the like gift as he did unto us," (power of mir- 
acles,) "who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, what 
was I, that I could withstand God ?" So he baptized 
him and his servants together. Again we find the 
Epistle to the Ephesians addressed in the first verse, 
" to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faith- 
ful brethren in Christ Jesus," with a blessing in the 
second verse appropriate to none but God's children. 
When, therefore, in subsequent parts of the Epistle, 
wo find any persons addressed in detail with apostolic 
precepts, we conclude of course that they are included 
in "the saints and faithful." But all expositors say 
these terms mean church members in good standing. 
If we find here any persons commanded to any duty, 
we know that they are church members. This thought 
confirms it, that St. Paul knew well that his oflice gave 
him no jurisdiction over the external world. He had 
himself said to the church authorities at Corinth, 
"What have I to do, to judge them that are without?" 
1 Cor. V. 12. Now, in the sixth chapter and ninth verse 
of Ephesians, we find him, after commanding Christian 
husbands, Christian wives, Christian parents, Christian 
children, and Christian slaves, how to demean them- 
selves, addressing Christian masters : "And ye, masters, 
do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT, 163 

knowing that your Master also is in heaven," &c. 
Here, therefore, must have been slaveholders in good 
standirrg in this favourite church, which was organized 
under St. Paul's own eye. The Epistle to the Colos- 
sians is also addressed "to the saints and faithful 
brethren in Christ which are at Colosse :" and in ch. iv. 
1, Christian slaveholders are addressed: "Masters, give 
unto your servants that which is just and equal," &c. 
There were, therefore, slaveholders in full communion 
at Colosse. Again : Mr. Albert Barnes (whom we cite 
here for a particular reason which will appear in the 
sequel) says correctly, that Timothy received his first 
Epistle from St. Paul at Ephesus, three or four years 
after that church was planted, having been left in 
charge there. But in Ephes. vi. 2, St. Paul writes : 
"And they" (i. e. these Christian slaves) "that have be- 
lieving masters, let them not despise them because 
they are brethren, but rather do them service because 
they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit," 
(i. e. of the blessings of redemption.) "These things 
teach and exhort." There were still slaveholders then, 
in this church, three or four years after its organiza- 
tion ; and Timothy is commanded to have them treated 
as brethren faithful and beloved, partakers of the fa- 
vour of God. The Epistle to the Ephesians, according 
to the same Mr. Barnes, was written from four to seven 
years after the founding of the church, and that to the 
Colossians from ten to thirteen. So that this member- 
ship of slaveholders had continued for these periods. 

But we have a stronger case still. St. Paul, during 
his imprisonment at Rome, addresses Philemon of Co- 
losse thus : " Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and 



164 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Timothy our brother, unto our dearly beloved and 
fellow-labourer, (avvepyog,) and to our beloved Apphia 
and Archippus, our fellow-soldier, and to the church in 
thy house." Philemon, then, was a church member; his 
house was a place of meeting- for the church ; he was 
beloved of Paul ; and last, he was himself a Christian 
minister. (Such is the only meaning' of ovvepyog here, 
according to the agreement of all expositors, of whom 
may be mentioned Bloomfield, Doddridge, and Dr. 
Edward Robinson of New York.) But Philemon was 
a slaveholder : the very purpose of this affectionate 
epistle was to send back to him a runaway slave. 
Here, then, we have a slaveholder, not only in the 
membership, but ministry of the Church. 

Now when we consider how jealously the apostles 
guarded the purity of the church, it will appear to be 
incredible that they should receive slaveholders thus, if 
the relation were unrighteous. The terms of admission 
(for adults) were the renunciation of all known sin, 
and a credible repentance leading to reparation, where. 
ever practicable. Even the Baptist, who was unworthy 
to loose the shoe-latchet of Christ, could say : " Bring 
forth therefore the fruits meet for repentance." From 
all the prevalent and popular sins of Pagan society, the 
church members were inexorably required to turn away; 
else excommunication soon rid the church of their 
scandal. Thus, 1 Cor. v. 11, says : "But now I have 
written unto you not to keep company, if any man that 
is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an 
idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; 
with such an one no n6t to eat." Christ separated his 
church out of the world, to secure sanctity and holy 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AEGUMENT. 165 

living. To suppose that he, or his apostles, could 
avowedly admit and tolerate the membership of men 
who persisted in criminal conduct, betrays the very 
purpose of the church, and impugns the purity of the 
Saviour himself. And here, all the evasions of Aboli- 
tionists are worthless ; as when they say that Christ's 
mission was not to meddle with secular relations, or to 
interfere in politics; for the communion of the church 
was his own peculiar domain; and to meddle with every 
form of sin there was precisely his mission. Entrance 
to the church was voluntary. The terms of membership 
were candidly published; the penalty for violating 
them" was purely spiritual, (mere exclusion from the 
society,) and interfered with no man's political rights 
or franchises. S© that within this spiritual society, 
Christ had things his own way; there was no difficulty 
from without that could possibly restrain his action; 
and if he tolerated deliberate sin here, his own charac- 
ter is tarnished. 

So cogent is this, that Mr. Albert Barnes, in his 
' Notes ' on 1 Tim. vi. 2, seeks to evade it thus : " Nor 
is it fairly to be inferred from this passage, that he 
(Paul) meant to teach that they (masters) might con- 
tinue this ( i. e. slaveholding) and be entitled to all the 
respect and confidence due to the Christian name, or be 
regarded, as maintaining a good standing in the church. 
Whatever may be true on these points, the passage 
before us only proves, that Paul considered that a man 
who was a slaveholder might be converted, and be 
spoken of as a ' believer ' or a Christian. Many have 
been converted in similar circilmstances, as many have 
in the practice of all other kinds of iniquity. What 



166 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

was their duty after their conversion was another ques- 
tion." 

That is, as a murderer or adulterer might become a 
subject of Almighty grace, so might a slaveholder; but 
all three alike must cease these crimes, when converted, 
in order to continue credible church members I To him 
who has weighed the Scripture facts, this statement will 
appear (as we shall find sundry others of this writer) 
so obviously un(^ndid, that it is mere affectation to 
refrafti from calling it by its proper name, dishonesty. 
The simple refutation is in the fact, by which Mr. Barnes 
has convicted himself, that the slaveholders were still 
in the churches from three to thirteen years after they 
were organized, with no hint from the apostle that they 
were living in a criminal relation; thjit they were still 
beloved, approved, yea applauded, by Paid; and that 
one of them was even promoted to the ministr3^ The 
last case is particulaidy ruinous to Mr. Barnes. For 
when did Philemon first acquire his slave Onesimus? 
Before the former first joined the Church ? Then Paul 
permitted him to remain all these years a member, and 
promoted him to the ministry, with the ' sin of slavery ' 
unforsaken 1 Was it after he joined the church ? Then 
a thing occurred which, on Mr. Barnes' theory, is impos- 
sible : because buying a slave, being criminal, must 
have terminated his church membership. 

We thank God that it is true that some sinners of 
every class ai-e converted. But their conversion must 
be followed by a prompt repentance and forsaking of 
their sins. Thus, it is said to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 
vi. 9 to 11 : "Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor 
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of 



! 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AEaUMENT. 167 

themselves witk mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, 
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall in- 
herit the kingdom of God. And such were some of 
you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye 
are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the 
Spirit of our God." According to the Abolitionists, an- 
other class of criminals fully deserving' to be ranked in 
the above black list — slaveholders — enter the church 
under Paul's administration, without being washed or 
sanctified. If slaveholding is wrong, it was their duty 
on entering the Church to repent of, forsake and repair 
this wrong ; to liberate their slaves, and to repay them 
for past exactions so far as possible. If this was their 
duty, it was the duty of the apostle to teach it to them. 
But he has not taught it : he has taken up the subject, 
and merely taught these masters that they would dis- 
charge their whole duty by treating their slaves, as 
slaves, with clemency and equity ; and then he has con- 
tinued them in the Church. It remains true, therefore, 
that this allowed membership of slaveholders in the 
apostolic churches, proves it no sin to own slaves. 

§ 7. Relative Duties of Masters and Slaves recognized. 

Another fact equally decisive is, that the apostles 
frequently enjoin on masters and slaves their relative 
duties, just as they do upon husbands and wives, par- 
ents and children. And these duties they enforce, both 
on master and servant, by Christian motives. Pursuing 
the same method as under the last head, we will first 
establish the fact, and then indicate the use to be made 
of it. 

In Ephesians vi. 5 to 9, having addressed the other 



168 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

classes, the Apostle Paul says : "Servants, be obedient 
to them that are your masters according to the flesh, 
•with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as 
unto Christ ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; but 
as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from 
the heart ; with good-will doing service as to the Lord 
and not unto men ; knowing that whatsoever good 
thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the 
Lord, whether he be bond or free. And ye masters, do 
the same things unto them, forbearing threatening : 
knowing that your Master also is in heaven ; neither 
is there respect of persons with him." 

In Colos. iii. 22 to iv. 1, inclusive, almost the same 
precepts occur in the same words, with small exceptions, 
and standing in the same connexion with recognized 
relations. Let the reader compare for himself. In 1 
Tim. vi, 1, 2, we read: "Let as many servants as are im- 
der the yoke count their own" masters worthy of all hon- 
our, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blas- 
phemed. And they that have believing masters, let them 
not despise them because they are brethren; but rather 
do them service, because they arc faithful and beloved, 
partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort." 
So, in the Epistle to Titus, having directed him how to 
instruct sundry other classes in their relative duties, he 
says, ch. ii. 9 to 12 : " Exhort servants to be obedient 
unto their own masters, and to please them well in all 
things : not answering again ; not purloining, but 
showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doc- 
trine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace 
of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all 
men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and world- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 169 

ly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly 
in this present world," etc. So, the Apostle Peter, 1 Ep. 
ii. 18, 19: "Servants, be subject to your masters with 
all fear ; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the 
froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for con- 
science towards Gcd endure grief, suffering wrongfully." 
^The word for servant in all these passages is 6ovXog, 
except the last, where the Apostle Peter uses ocKerai. But 
this i^ also proved t.o mean here, domestic slaves proper, 
by the current Septuagint and New Testament usage, 
by its relation to deonoraig, (masters,) which always 
means in this connexion the proprietoifof a slave, and 
by the reference in the subsequent verse to being buf- 
feted for a fault ; an incident of the slave's condition, 
rather than of the hired freeman's. Now the drift of all 
these precepts is too plain to be mistaken. Slaves who 
are church-members are here instructed that it is their 
religious duty to obey their masters, to treat them with 
deferential respect, and with Christian love where the 
masters are Christian, and to render the service due 
from a servant with fidelity and integrity, without re- 
quiring to be watched or threatened. The motives 
urged for all this are not carnal, but evangelical, a 
sense of duty, love for Christ and his doctrine, the 
credit of which was implicated in their Christian con- 
duct here, and the expectation of a rich reward from 
Jesus Christ hereafter. 

But the apostles are not partial. In like manner they 
positively enjoin on masters who are church-members, 
the faithful performance of their seciprocal duties to 
their slaves. They must avoid a harsh and minatory 
government : they must allot to the slave an equitable 



170 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

maintenance and humane treatment, and in every re- 
spect must act towards him so as to he ahle to meet 
that judgment, where master and slave will stand as 
equals before the bar of Jesus Christ, at which social 
rank has no weight. These precepts imply, of course, 
that both master and servant are church-members ; 
otherwise they would not have been under the ecclea^ 
astical authority of the apostles. They imply with 
equal clearness, that the continuance of the relation was 
contemplated as legitimate : for if this is terminated as 
sinful, the duties of the relation are at an end, and such 
precepts are so tnuch breath thrown away. Does any 
sophist insist that the "rendering of that which is just 
and equal" must not be less than emancipation ? The 
very words refute him ; for then he would no longer be 
his servant, and the master no longer master; so that 
he could owe no duties as such. Further, the same 
passage proceeds to enjoin on the slave the duties of a 
continued state of servitude. We repeat : all these 
passages contemplate the continuance of the relation 
among church-members, as legitimate. What would 
men say of the Christian minister who should instruct 
the penitent gambler how to continue the stated prac- 
tice of his nefarious art in a Christian manner : and the 
penitent adulterer how to continue his guilty connexion 
exemplarily? When such a lawgiver as Christ legis- 
lates concerning such a thing, there is but one thing he 
can consistently enjoin : and that is its instant termi- 
nation. If slaveholding is a moral wrong, the chief 
guilt, of course, attaches to the master, because on his 
side is the power. When the apostles pass, then, from 
the duties of servants to those of masters, it is unavoid- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 171 

able that they must declare the imperative duty of 
emancipation. But they say not one word about it : 
they seek to continue the relation rightfully. There- 
fore, either slaveholding is *not wrong, or the apostles 
were unfaithful. The explanation of these passages, 
Avhich we have given, is that of all respectable exposi- 
tors, especially the British, no friends of slavery. 

The attempt is made to argue, that if this were cor- 
rect, then the holy apostles would be implicated in a 
connivance at the excesses and barbarities which, the 
history of the times tells us, often attached to the ser- 
vile condition. The answer is : that they condemn and 
prohibit all the wrongs, as criminal, and leave the rela- 
tion itself as lawful. No other defence can be set up 
for their treatment of the conjugal and parental rela- 
tions. Antiquarians tell us they also were then de- 
formed by great abuses. The wife and child wei'e no 
better than slaves. Over the latter the father had the 
power of life and death, and of selling into bondage. 
From the former he divorced himself at pleasure, and 
often visited her with corporal punishment. How do 
the apostles treat these facts ? They recognize the re- 
lation and forbid its abuses. Shall any one say that 
because these abuses were current, therefore they should 
have denounced the domestic relations, and invented 
some new-fangled communism? Or shall it be said 
that, because they have not done this, they wink at the 
wife-beatings, the child-murders, and the other bar- 
barities so common in Greek and Oriental families ? 
We trow not. Why then should these absurd infer- 
ences be attached to their treatment of domestic sla- 
very ? 



1Y2 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

But the favourite evasion of these Scriptures is that 
of Dr. Wayland : "The scope of these instructions to 
servants is only to teach patience, fidelity, meekness, 
and charity, duties which Christians owe to all men, 
even their enemies." In like strain, Mr. Albert Barnes, 
in his 'Notes on Ephesians,' vi. 7, writes: "But let not a 
master think, because a pious slave shows this spirit, 
that therefore the slave feels the master is right in with- 
holding his freedom ; nor let him suppose, because re- 
ligion requires the slave to be submissive and obedient, 
that therefore it approves of what the master does. It 
docs this no more than it sanctions the conduct of ^Nfary 
and Nero, because religion required the martyrs to be 
unresisting, and to allow themselves to be led to the 
stake. A conscientious slave may find happiness in 
submitting to God, and doing His will, just as a con- 
scientious martyr may. But this does not sanction the 
wrong, either of the slave-owner or of the persecutor." 
It is difficult to restrain the expression of natural in- 
dignation at so shameless a sophism as this, which out- 
rages at once the understanding of the reader and the 
honour of Christ. It represents the pure and benign 
genius of Christianity as walking abroad, and finding 
oppressor and oppressed together, the oppressor avow- 
edly within her reach, as well as his victim, as a sub- 
ject of her spiritual jurisdiction and instruction. To 
the one ^he is represented as saying : " Oh, injured 
slave ! glorify thy meek and lowly Saviour under this 
unrighteous oppression, by imitating His patience." 
Turning then to the other, who is present, and equally 
subject to her authority, must she not, of course, give 
the correlative injunction: " Oh, master ! since thy yoke 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 173 

is wicked, cease instantly to persecute Christ in the 
person of his follower." But no : abolitionism repi-e- 
sents her as saying nothing at all on this point ; but 
merely dismissing his side of the case with the injunc- 
tion to oppress equitably ! The honest mind meets such 
a statement, not only with the 'Incredulus sum,' but 
with the ^Incredulus odi,' of the Latin satirist. And 
the suffering victim of oppression could not but feel, 
while he recognized the duty of patience, that the coun- 
terpart treatment of his oppi'essor by Christianity was 
a foul injustice. The fact that Christ and apostles ad- 
mitted these masters, with these slaves, to the same 
communion, proves that the comment of Mr. Barnes is 
preposterous. The fact that these Christian slaves are 
commanded to treat these pretended oppressors as 
"brethren, faithful and beloved, partakers of the bene- 
fit," proves it. Do the apostles, while enjoining pa- 
tience under the persecutions of a bloody Nero, admit 
that Nero, with his brutality, to the same Cliristian 
communion with the peaceful and holy victims, address 
him as " saint and faithful in Christ Jesus," and in- 
struct him to burn and tear the Christians for their faith, 
in a godly manner? The comment is disproved by Pe- 
ter, when he says that there were slave-owners who 
were "good and gentle," as well as others who were 
" froward." Does truth or common sense distinguish 
"good and gentle" persecutors? It is disproved far- 
ther, by the fact that the apostles do not enjoin patience 
only, on these servants, as on Christians forbearing un- 
der an injury; but they enjoin duty, obedience, and 
fidelity also, as upon Christians paying reciprocal obli- 
gations. It is not patience under ruthless force, which 



174 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

they require, as a tribute to Christ's honour ; but it is 
obedience due to the master's legitimate authority, "and 
that, a tribute due to the master also. Servants must 
" show all good fidelity." This implies an obligation 
to which to be faithful. Fidelity does not exist where 
there is no debt. To unrighteous exaction we may be 
submissive ; but fidelity has no place. But the crown- 
ing refutation is, that St. Paul sent back an escaped 
.slave to his master Philemon, from Rome to Colosse, 
hundreds of miles away. Will any one say that the 
duty of Christian submission and patience under wrongs 
extends so far as to require an injured Christian to go 
back several hundred miles, and hunt up his oppressor 
in order to be maltreated again, after Providence had 
enabled him to escape from his injuries ? If Mr. Barnes 
is correct, Onesimus should have claimed that he had 
now availed himself of Christ's own command : " When 
they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another ;" 
and was rightfully concealed in the midst of the vast 
metropolis. This was requiring him to " turn the other 
cheek" with a vengeance : to waive the right of peace- 
able escape which his Divine Lord had given him, and 
go all the way to Asia to be unjustly smitten again ! 
There is this farther absurdity: the pious servant is re- 
quired to stretch his forbearance to so Quixotic a de- 
gree, as to waive, not only the claim of forcible self- 
defence, but that of legal protection. (Oh that the holy 
Abolitionists had practised towards the injured South a 
little tythe of this forbearance which their learned 
scribe so consistently inculcates!) Is it Christ's re- 
quirement, that the Christian under oppression must re- 
fuse the shield of legal protection? Did Paul think 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 175 

thus, when, prosecuted at the bar of Porcius Festus by- 
unscrupulous enemies, he claimed the rights of his citi* 
zenship with so admirable a union of forbearance and 
courage? Now, if Messrs. Wayland and Barnes are 
right, these oppressed slaves possessed a tribunal in 
common with their oppressors, to which they could law- 
fully, peacefully, forgivingly, yet righteously summon 
them : the church court. They could have demanded of 
these authorities, with the strictest Christian propriety, 
to use all their spiritual powers, so far as they went, 
to induce the masters, their fellow-members, to give 
them that lib^n-ty which w\as their due. But, so exceed- 
ingly forbearing are they, that they not only forego 
forcible resistance, but the peaceable claim of their ec- 
clesiastical right, for fear they might be thought to act 
in an impatient manner ! A highwayman meets me in 
a wood, and begins to beat me and rob me : I have a 
weapon, but I forbear to use violence against him. 
Meantime, the legal authorities pass by, and I also for- 
bear to claim their protection under the law, lest it 
should scandalize the amiable highwayman, and make 
him think less favourably of my religion ! 

It may be well, in concluding this point, to notice 
the plea that Christians were required by the apostles 
to render not only patience and submission to the Em- 
peror Nero, but also allegiance and hearty obedience. 
Yet none will say that Nero was a righteous ruler. 
We reply, the case is precisely in our favour : for it 
proves the proposition exactly parallel to ours, that 
civil government is a lawful institution, notwithstand- 
ing it is abused. The government of the Caesars was 
providentially the de facto one, and Nero, bad as he 



176 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

was, its recognized head. As^sucli, all liis mag-isterial 
acts which were not specifically contrary to God's law, 
were legitimate, and were the proper objects of the 
civic obedience of the Christian subject. Otherwise, 
the apostles would never have exacted it for him. The 
instance does imply, therefoi*e, that civil government is 
a lawful relation ; and this is precisely what we infer 
from the parallel instances of obedience enjoined on 
servants to masters. If Abolitionists are not willing to 
argue that the relation of ruler and subject is sin per se, 
notwithstanding the obedience required to Nero, they 
cannot argue from their proposed analogy between 
Nero's cruelties and slaveholding. But an equally con- 
clusive reply is, that apostles never admitted a Nero, 
with his barbarities in full sway, to the same commu- 
nion-table with his patient Christian victims, command- 
ing the latter to forbear as towards a wrongdoer, and 
yet failing to give him the correlative command, to 
cease the wrongdoing. 

§ 8. Philetnon and Onesinius. 

The Epistle to Philemon is peculiarly instructive and 
convincing as to the moral character of slavery. This 
Abolitionists betray, by the distressing wrigglings and 
contortions of logic, to which they resort, in the vain 
attempt to evade its inferences. The whole Epistle 
need not be recited. The apostle, after saluting Phile- 
mon as a brother and fellow-minister, and commending 
him in terms of peculiar beauty, warmth, and affection, 
for his eminent piety, and his hospitalities and chari- 
ties to Christians, proceeds thus, v. 8 to 19: "Though 
I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 177 

which is convenient, ygt, for love's sake, I rather 
beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, 
and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech 
thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in 
my bonds ; which in time past was to thee unprofit- 
able, but now profitable to thee and to me ; whom I 
have sent again : thou, therefore, receive him, that 
is, mine own bowels: Whom I would have retained 
with mc, that in thy stead he might have ministered 
unto mc in the bonds of the Gospel. But without 
thy mind would I do nothing: that thy benefit should 
not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For per- 
haps he therefore departed for a season^ that thou 
shouklst receive him forever; not now as a servant, 
but above a servant, a brother beloved, especially to 
me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, 
and in the Lord. If thou count me therefore, a part- 
ner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged 'thee, 
or owetli thee aught, put that on mine account; I Paul 
have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it," 
&c. That it may not be supposed we give an explana- 
tion of these words warped to suit our own views, we 
will copy the very words of the judicious Dr. Thomas 
Scott, one of the most fair and reasonable of expositors, 
and a declared enemy of slavery. In his introduction 
.to the Epistle, he says: "Philemon seems to have been 
a Christian of some eminence, residing at Colosse, 
(Col. iv. 9, or IT,) who had been converted under St. 
Paul's ministry, (19,) perhaps during his abode at 
Ephesus, (Acts xix. 10.) When the apostle was im- 
prisoned at Rome, Onesimus, a slave of Philemon, hav- 
ing, as it is generally thought, been guilty of some dis- 



178 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

honesty, left his master and fled to that city, though at 
the distance of several hundred miles. When he came 
thither, curiosity or some such motive induced him to 
attend on St. Paul's ministry, which it pleased God to 
bless for his conversion. After he had given satisfac- 
tory proof of a real change, and manifested an excellent 
disposition, by suitable behaviour, which had greatly 
endeared him to Paul, he judged it proper to send him 
back to his master, to whom he wrote this epistle, that 
he might procure Onesimus a more favourable reception 
than he could otherwise have expected." Notes on v. 
12 to 16: "Onesimus was Philemon's legal property, 
and St. PiMil had required, and prevailed with him, to 
return to him, having made sufficient trial of his sin- 
cerity: and he requested Philemon to receive him with 
the same kindness as he would the aged apostle's own 
son according to the flesli, being equally dear to him, 
as his spiritual child. He would gladly have kept him 
at Rome, to minister to him in his confinement, which 
Onesimus would willingly have done in the bonds of 
the Gospel, being attached to him from Christian love 
and gratitude; and as he knew that Philemon would 
gladly have done him any service in person, if he had 
been at Rome, so he would have considered Onesimus 
as ministering to him in his master's stead. But he 
would not do any thing of this kind without his con- 
sent, lest he should seem to extort the benefit, and 
Philemon should appear to act from necessity, rather 
than from a willing mind. And though ho had hopes 
of deriving benefit from Onesimus' faithful service, at 
some future period, by Philemon's free consent, yet he 
was not sure that this was the Lord's purpose concern- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 179 

ing him; for perhaps he permitted him to leave his mas- 
ter for a season in so improper a manner, in order that, 
being converted, he might be received on his return 
with such affection, and might abide with Philemon 
with such faithfulness and diligence, that they should 
choose to live together the rest of their lives as fellow- 
heirs of eternal felicity. In this case he knew that 
Philemon would no longer consider Onesimus merely as 
a slave, but view him as * above a slave, even a brother 
beloved.' This he was become to Paul in an especial 
manner, who had before been entirely a stranger to him; 
how much more, then, might it be supposed that he 
would be endeared to Philemon, when he became well 
accjuainted with his excellency ! seeing he would be 
near to him both in the flesh as one of his domestics, 
and in the Lord, as one witli him in Christ by faith." 

Thus far Dr. Scott. These are substantially the 
views gi-^n of this epistle by Calvin, Whitby, Henry, 
Doddridge, McKlnight, Hodge, and others : none of 
whom were slaveholders, or friends of the institution. 
Now, our purpose is not to vindicate the intrinsic in- 
nocence of slaveholding here, by dwelling again upon 
the just arguments, which have been already stated: 
that a slaveholder here receives from an inspired 
apostle the highest Christian commendations; and that 
he is addressed as a brother minister in the church. 
The Epistle presents still more emphatic evidence: 
First, if the relation is unrighteous, and the master's 
authority unfounded, then the only ground upon which 
the duty of the slave's submission rests, is that of 
Christian forbearance. When the wicked bonds were 
once happily evaded, and the oppressed person in 



180 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

safety, that ground of obligation was wholly at an end. 
A captive has been unlawfully detained by a gang of 
highwaymen, for the purpose of exacting ransom. He 
has given them the slip, and is secure. Is there any 
obligation to go back, because, while there, there was 
an obligation to refrain from useless violence and 
bloodshed? Let us even suppose that the means of 
the captive's escape were in some point immoral: does 
this fact make it his duty to go back and submit him- 
self to the freebooters? By no means. To God he 
ought to repent of whatever was immoral in the man- 
ner of his escape: but he is bound to make no repara- 
tion for it to the robbers, because they had no right to 
detain him at all. But we see St. Paul here enjoining 
on the newly-awakened conscience of Onesimus, the 
duty of returning to his master. That the apostle sent 
him, and that he went back under a sense of moral ob- 
ligation, is proved by two facts: St. Paul had a strong 
desire to retain him, being greatly in need of an affec- 
tionate domestic, in his infirm, aged, and imprisoned con- 
dition, but he felt that he must not. (Verse 13.) Paul 
had no power, except moral power, to make Onesimus 
go back, being himself a helpless captive; so that the 
latter must have been carried back by a sense of duty. 
Hence this instance proves, beyond a cavil, that the 
relation of master and servant was moral; it lies above 
the level of all those quibbles which we have been 
compelled to rebut. 

Second : the transaction clearly implies a moral 
propriety or ownership in Onesimus' labour, as pertain- 
ing to Philemon; of which the latter could not be right- 
fully deprived without his consent. For proof, see the 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 181 

fact that Paul saj^s, (v. 14,) "Without thy mind I would 
do nothing, that thy benefit should not be as it were of 
necessity, but willingly." The attendance of Onesimus 
on Paul, i. e., the bestowal of his labour, would have 
been, if given, Philemon's "benefit" to Paui. If, as 
Abolitionists say, Onesimus belonged to himself, how 
could it be Philemon's benefit, or benefjaction ? Sec also 
the fact that St. Paul (v. 18) explicitly recognizes the 
justice of Philemon's claim to indemnity for Onesimus' 
bad conduct. In order to smoothe the way for his 
pardon »by his justly offended master, he proposes to 
pay this himself, whatever it may be, and (v. 19) gives 
the force of a pecuniary bond to his promise, by writing 
and signing it with his own hand : (the rest of the 
Epistle, as the most of Paul's, being evidently written 
by an amanuensis.) Some expositors, indeed, explain 
the 18th verse by supposing that Onesimus, when run- 
ning away, had stolen something from Philemon. There 
is not a particle of evidence for this in the narrative; 
and it is a most unsafe method of explaining the Scrip- 
tures, to do it by bringing in gratuitous surmises. But 
be this as it may, Paul's language covers both supposi- 
tions, of debt for his delinquent services, and retention 
of his master's property : ("If he hath wronged thee, 
or oweth thee any thing.") Is it objected that St. Paul 
suggests, V. 19th, that gratitude ought to cause Phile- 
mon to forego the exaction of such a vicarious payment 
from him ? The reply is, that the very nature of this 
plea implies most strongly the legal completeness of 
Philemon's title to the compensation. A poor man is 
sued for a debt. His only answer is, that he thinks the 
suitor ought to be generous enough to remit this debt 



182 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

to him, inasmuch as he had once saved that suitor's 
life. Surely this plea is itself an admission that the 
debt is legal ; and if the claimant chooses to be ungra- 
cious enough to press it under the circumstances, it 
must be.paid. Moreover, Philemon's debt of gratitude 
was, thus far, to Paul, and not to Onesimus. Paul's 
stepping under the burden of his debt was an act of 
voluntary generosity only. The apostle makes no claim 
of any obligation, even of courtesy, from Philemon tc 
his delinquent slave. 

But if Onesimus' labour was Philemon's property, of 
which he could not be rightfully deprived without his 
own consent, and for the loss of which he was entitled 
to an equivalent, slaveholding cannot be in itself un- 
lawful. We have here a recognition of the very essence 
of the relation. 

This case is so fatal to the theory of all Abolitionists 
who admit the canonical authority of the Epistle, that 
desperate efforts are made to pervert its meaning. Mr. 
Albert Barnes, Coryphseus of these expository sophists, 
says in one of his comments, that it does not appear 
from the Epistle that Paul really sent Onesimus back 
to his master at all I " There is not the slightest evi- 
dence that he compelled, or even urged him to go. The 
language is just such as would have been used on the 
supposition, either that he suggested to him to go and 
bear a letter to Colosse, or that Onesimus desired to go, 
and that Paul sent him agreeably to his request. Com- 
pare Philip, ii. 25, Col. iv. 1, 8. But Epaphroditus and 
Tychicus wei'e not sent against their own will ; nor is 
there any more reason to think that Onesimus was." 
Mr. Barnes then adds the notable reason, that Paul 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 183 

hud no sherifi" or constable to send Oncsimus by ; so 
that if he did not choose to return, he could not compel 
him. But the stubborn fact is, that Onesimus went : 
and it must be accounted for. This author's account is, 
that he probably found he had not mended his condition 
by running away, and so, desired to return to regain 
his comfortable home ; whereupon Paul availed himself 
of the occasion to write to his friend. Tliis solution is 
not particularly honourable to the religious character 
of either party : we shall neither insult the apostle by 
adopting, nor the understanding of readers by refuting 
it. As to Paul's 'sending' of Epaphroditus to Phillippi, 
and Tychicus to Colosse, we note that the word is not 
the same with the one used of Onesimus. This is 
aveTTeiiipa ; and it is expressly defined by Robinson's 
Lexicon as an authoritative sending up, or remitting to 
a higher tribunal, such as the sending of Paul by 
Festus to Caesar, Acts xxv. 21. Further, Paul did 'send' 
these two brethren, not indeed as slaves are sent, but 
by his apostolic authority, to which they doubtless 
cheerfully responded. Paul had no physical force by 
which to drive Onesimus all the way from Rome to 
Colosse ; but there is such a thing as moral power, and 
the fact that the conscience of the sent freely seconds 
the righteous authority of the sender, surely does not 
prove this authority to be naught. How perverse must 
he be, who can see in the words, "whom I (Paul) have 
sent," nothing but that Onesimus sent himself ! Is not 
this the state of facts, plain to any honest mind : that 
Paul instructed him it was his duty to return to his 
lawful master, and as his spiritual teacher told him to 
do so? And this injunction the converted Onesimus 
cheerfully obeyed. 



184 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Mr. Barnes also says, it is not proved that Onesimus 
was a literal slave at all : he may have been a hired 
servant or apprentice. Here, as will appear more fully, 
he expressly contradicts himself. But as to the assump- 
tion, we reply, that Onesimus is called, v. 16, SovXog, a 
name never given to the hired servant : that he is sent 
back to his rightful owner, a thing which necessarily 
implies his slavery : that St. Paul intercedes for him ; 
and that he recognizes his master's property in his 
labour. The whole company of expositors, ancient and 
modern, until Mr. Barnes, have declared that Onesimus 
was Philemon's slave. 

But others again, following the sam*e notable guide, 
learn that he was manumitted by tlie letter of Paul ; so 
that they find here, not a justification of the slaveholder, 
but an implied rebuke of slavery. Thus contradictory 
is error 1 Just now he was not a slave at all : now he 
is a slave manumitted ; and that by one who had no 
power to do it. The ground claimed for the latter posi- 
tion is, V. 16, " Not now as a servant, but above a ser- 
vant, a brother beloved." Now, the obvious sense of 
these words is, that Philemon should now receive One- 
simus back, not as a. slave only, but as both a slave 
and Christian brother. For proof : By what law could 
Paul manumit another man's servant? And he had 
admitted Philemon's rightful authority, v. 10, by saying : 
" I beseech thee for my son Onesimus." Why beseech, 
if he might have commanded ? If Paul had a righ£ to 
emancipate, why did he send him back at all, when 
every other motive prompted to keep him ? He again 
disclaims such right, v. 14, "But without thy mind I 
would do nothing." Still another proof appears, v. 18, 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 185 

19, where St. Paul fully recognizes Onesimus' continued 
servitude by undertaking to pay for his delinquencies. 
The Epistle then adds, that Philemon was "to receive 
him back forever," v. 15, i. e., for life. The residence 
of a free denizen or dependent could not be defined 
as for life; because he would go away whenever he 
pleased. And last, St. Paul expressly declares that this 
life-long relation was to be political as well as spirit- 
ual, both that of a servant and fellow-Christian — " How 
much more (beloved) now unto thee both in the flesh and 
in the Lord." 

Such are the wretched quibblings by which aboli- 
tionism seeks to pervert the plain meaning of God's 
Word, as clearly apprehended by the great current of 
Christian expositors, both ancient and modern, Greek, 
Latin, and English. We almost feel that an apology is 
due to the enlightened reader, for detaining him with 
the formal exposure of these miserable follies ; but our 
promise was to display the thorough emptiness of our 
opponents. 

§ 8. St. Paul reprobates Abolitionists. 

One passage of the New Testament remains to be 
noticed. It is that which commands the exclusion of 
Abolitionist teachers from church communion, 1 Tim. 
vi. 3-5. St. Paul had just enjoined on this young min- 
ister the giving of proper moral instruction to servants. 
The pulpit was to teach then! the duty of subordination 
to masters, as to rightful authority, and if those masters 
were also Christians, then the obligation was only the 
stronger. See v. 1, 2. The apostle then proceeds, v. 3, 
" If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to whole- 



186 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

some words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and to the doctrine which is according to godliness," 
(the opposite teaching of abolitionism contradicts 
Christ's own word,) "he is proud, knowing nothing, 
but doting about questions and strifes of words, where- 
of cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse 
disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of 
the truth, supposing that gain is godliness : from such 
withdraw thyself." 

The more carefully these words of the Holy Ghost are 
considered, the more exceedingly remarkable will they 
appear. Doubtless, every reader of previous ages has 
felt a slight trace of wonder, that the apostle should 
have left on record a rebuke of such particularity, stern- 
ness, and emphasis, when there appeared nothing in the 
opinions or abuses of the Christian world, of sufficient 
importance quite to justify it. We have no evidence 
that, either in the primitive or media3val church, any 
marked disposition prevailed to assail the rights of 
masters over their slaves, to such extent as to threaten 
the disorganization of civil society or the dishonouring 
of Christianity thereby. This denunciation of the apostle 
seems to have been sufficient to give the quietus to the 
spirit of abolition, so long as any reverence for inspira- 
tion remained. Even while the policy of the Roman 
Church and clergy was steadily directed to the extinc- 
tion of feudal slavery in Western Europe, it does not 
appear that the doctors of that church assailed the mas- 
ter's rights or preached insubordination to the slaves. 
Why then did St. Paul judge it necessary to leave on 
record so startling a denunciation ? The question is 
answered by the events of our age : these words were 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 187 

written for us ou whom these ends of the world have 
come. And we have here a striking proof that his pen 
was guided by omniscient foreknowledge. The God 
who told Paul what to write, foresaw that though the 
primitive church stood in comparatively slight need of 
such admonitions, the century would come, after the 
lapse of eighteen ages, when the church would be in- 
vaded and defiled by the deadly spirit of modern abolition- 
ism, a spirit perverse, blind, divisive and disorganizing-, 
which would become the giant scourge and opprobrium 
of Cliristianity. Therefore has this stern warning been 
recorded here, and left standing until events should 
make men understand both its wisdom and the linea- 
ments of the monster which it foreshadowed. The 
learned Calvin, and the amiable Henry, in explaining 
the Epistle to Philemon, allude to the question : Why 
should this short letter, which directly touches no pub- 
lick concernment of the churches, written on a personal 
topick from Paul to his friend, be preserved among the 
canonical Scriptures by God's Spirit and providence ? 
They answer, that it was placed there because, although 
short and of private concernment, it teaches us many 
pleasing lessons of Paul's condescension and courtesy, 
and above all, of the adaptation of Christianity to visit, 
purify, and elevate the lowest and vilest of the ranks of 
men. This is true, so far as it goes; but another part 
of God's purpose is now developed. He left this little 
Epistle among his authoritative words, because he fore- 
saw that the day would come when the Church would 
need just the instructions against insubordination, 
which are here presented in a concrete case. 

Those who have seen and suffered by modern abol- 



188 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

itionism best kno^y, how astonishingly true is the pic- 
ture here drawn of it by the Divine limner. God here 
declares that the principles of the lawfulness of slavery, 
the rights of masters, and the duty of obedience in 
slaves, are wholesome, and according to godliness. In 
addition, the sacred authority of pur Lord Jesus Christ 
is claimed for them. The Abolitionist who assails these 
teachings is described as a man proud, yet ignorant. 
This combined arrogance and vindictiveness, with ig- 
norance of the true facts and merits of the case upon 
which they presume to dictate, are proverbial in modern 
abolitionism, according to the testimony of neutral par- 
ties, and even of some of their own clique. With a 
stupid superciliousness, equally ludicrous and offensive, 
they revile men wiser and better than themselves, and 
pass an oracular verdict upon questions of which they 
know nothing. They are doting about questions 
and strifes of words : that is, as the original word 
nieaus, their minds are morbid with logomachies and 
idle debates, and corrupted by prejudice and the spirit 
of disputation. ("Perverse disputings of men of cor- 
rupt minds.") Those who have read thus far in this dis- 
cussion have seen, in the prejudiced sophisms which we 
have been compelled to quote for refutation, sufficient 
evidence of the perverse, erroneous, and disputatious 
spirit of abolitionism. Their dogmas are not supported 
by the testimony of Scripture, nor the lights of practi- 
cal experience, nor sound political philosophy ; but by 
vain and Utopian theories of human rights, and philos- 
ophy falsely so called. The fruit of their discussions 
has been naught but " envy, strife, railings, and evil 
surmisings." The fact betrays itself in a thousand 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 189 

ways, that envy of the slaveholder and his supposed ad- 
vantages and power, is the root of much of their zeal. 
Hence the epithets of " aristocrat/' " lordly slaveholder," 
" Southern nabob," as ridiculously false to fact as en- 
vious, which riirm so large a part of the staple of their 
abuse. They hate us because they suppose we pos- 
sessed a privilege of .which they were deprived. The 
angry and divisive tendencies of abolitionism have 
manifested themselves but too familiarly in the rend- 
ing of churches, in the awakening of fierce conten- 
tion wherever it has appeared, in the destruction of the 
union both of law and of love between the American 
States, and in a gigantic war which has filled a conti- 
nent with woe and crime. And the remaining trait of 
" railings" is verified by the fact that these professed 
friends of humanity have exhausted the most inhuman 
stores of vituperation upon a class of Christian people 
whom none can know without loving for their purity 
and benevolence. There is no sect that knows how to 
scold so virulently as the Abolitionists. • The apostle 
adds that they are " men of corrupt minds, and destitute 
of the truth." Now it is notoriously the fact that this 
sect, although claiming to be the special advocates of 
righteousness, have ever prosecuted their ends by un- 
principled and false means. Their party action has 
been hypocritical and unscrupulous. Their main wea- 
pons have been slanders. And the tendency to men- 
dacity has since been illustrated on a scale so grand in 
the recent war, by falsifications of fact, diplomatic 
treacheries, and wholesale breaches of covenant, that 
the accuracy of the apostle's description becomes start- 
ling. It would seem that when once a man is swayed 



190 A DEFENCE OF VIEGINIA. 

by this spirit fully, he is under a fatality to speak un- 
truth, whether he be prime-minister, historian, official 
of government, or divine. 

The last trait of abolitionism which the apostle 
draws, is one which, at the first glance, strikes the ob- 
server with surprise, but which is fully verified by the 
reality. This is the intensely mercenary spirit of the 
sect. "Supposing that gain is godliness." Without 
due reflection, one would suppose that a party ani- 
mated as much as this is by an intense and sincere fa- 
naticism, and that, a fanaticism of pretended humanity, 
■whatever violences it might commit, would at least be 
free from the vice of a Calculated avarice. But the 
suppleness of fanaticism in affiliating with every other 
vice, is not duly appreciated ; it is a fact, true, if unex- 
pected, that genuine fanaticism can tolerate any thing 
except the peculiar object of its hate, and that it is 
compatible with supreme selfishness. For what is fa- 
naticism but selfishness acting under the forms of pride 
with its oiTspring censoriousness, the lust of power, 
envy, and dogmatism? Modern events verify the apos- 
tle's picture : the religion and humanitarianism of abol- 
ition are only a covert avarice. The people of the Amer- 
ican States are notorious for their worship of wealth, 
just in proportion as they are swayed by the anti-sla- 
very furor. No party has ever appeared on the stage 
of Federal politics, whose ends were so avowedly selfish 
and mercenary. The wrongs of the slave have been 
the pretext, sectional and personal aggrandizement the 
true ends. That party, under the phase of "free-soil," 
has thrown off the mask, and avowed the declaration 
that the true meaning of their opposition to the rights 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 191 

of Southern masters in the territories is, that " the soil 
of America belongs to the white man ;" and the poor 
negro, though now a native of it, is begrudged a home 
and a living upon it. There is no class of people in 
America which has expended so little of its money for 
the actual advantage of the black race, as the aboli- 
tionists. Usually, the history of the case has been, that 
they would give of their money, neither to ransom a 
slave from bondage, nor to aid the cause of African col- 
onization, nor to assist -a distressed free negro of their 
own section : the only use to which they can be induced 
to apply it is the printing of vituperations against the 
masters. It was the testimony of the fugitive slaves 
themselves, that the philanthropy of the Abolitionists 
extended only to seducing them from their homes ; 
thenceforth their whole thought was to make gain of 
their godliness. The crowning evidence, however, of 
the mercenary spirit of this party is' in this fact, that 
their advent to power in the Federal government of the 
United States has been, according to the testimony of 
their mutual recriminations, the epoch of an unprece- 
dented rei|fei of peculation and official corruption. Such 
is the picture of abolitionism as drawn by the Apostle 
Paul, and verified in America in our day. It is our 
privilege and our wisdom to obey his closing injunc- 
tion, " From such withdraw thyself," that we may not 
become partakers of their sins. From this stern and 
just denunciation, it may be learned how utterly the 
New Testament is opposed to the whole doctrine and 
spirit of the party. 

We have now passed in review every passage in the 
New Testament, in which domestic slavery is directly 



192 A DEFENCE OF VIEGINIA. 

treated, and we have seen that they every one imply 
the innocency of the institution. We have discussed 
many of the evasions by which Abolitionists attempt 
to escape these testimonies, and have found them ut- 
terly unsound. There remain two pleas, of more gen- 
eral application to the New Testament argument, to 
which the ablest of their advocates seem to attach 
prime importance. To these we will now attend. 

§ 9. The Golden Rule Com2)atible with Slavery. 

One of these general objections to our New Testa- 
ment argument is the following. They say, Christ 
could not have intended to authorize slavery, because 
the tenour and spirit of His moral teachings are op- 
posed to it. The temper He currently enjoins is one of 
fraternity, equality, love, and disinterestedness. But 
holding a fellow-being in bondage is inconsistent with 
all these. Especially is the great " Golden Rule" incom- 
patible with slavery. This enjoins us to do unto our 
neighbour as we would that he should do unto us. 
Now, as no slaveholder would like to be himself en- 
slaved, this is a clear proof that we shou^ not hold 
others in slavery. Hence, the interpretations which 
seem to find authority for slavery in certain passages 
of the New Testament, must be erroneous, and we are 
entitled to reject them without examination. 

Abolitionists u'sually advance this with a disdainful 
confidence, as though he who does not admit its justice 
were profoundly stupid. But it is exceedingly easy to 
show that it is a bald instance ofpetitio principii, and it 
is founded on a preposterous interpretation of the Golden 
Rule, which every sensible Sabbath-school boy knows 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 193 

how to explode. Its whole plausibility rests on the a 
priori assumption of prejudice, that slaveholding cannot 
but be wicked, and on a determination not to see it oth- 
erwise. Our refutation, which is demonstrative, reveals 
the Socinian origin and Rationalistic character of these 
opinions. Socinianism harbours loose views of the 
authority of inspiration, and especially of that of the 
Old Testament. It scruples not to declare, that these 
venerable documents contain many admixtures of hu- 
man error, and wherever it finds in them any thing it 
does not like, it boldly rejects and repudiates it. More- 
over, Socinianism having denied the divinity of our Re- 
deemer Christ, finds itself compelled to attempt an an- 
swer to the hard question: Wherein, then, is He greater 
than Moses, David, or Isaiah ? And in what respect 
does He fulfil those transcendent representations which 
the Scriptures correctly give of His superiority of per- 
son and mission ? The answer which orthodoxy makes 
is plain and good : That it is because He is God as 
well as man, while they were but sinful men, redeemed 
and inspired ; and that His mission is to regenerate 
and atone, while theirs was only to teach. But the 
answer which Socinianism has devised is in part this : 
Christ was commissioned to reform the moral system 
of the Old Testament, and to teach a new law of far 
superior beauty, purity, and benevolence. Thus, they 
have a corrupt polemical motive to misrepresent and 
degrade the Old Testament law, in order to make a 
Nodus vindice dignus, for their imaginary Christ, who 
does nothing but teach. To effect this, they seize on 
all such passages as those in the "Sei-mon on the 
Mount," which refute Pharisaic glosses, and evolve the 

9 



19i A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

true law of love. This is the mint from which aboli- 
tionists have borrowed their objections against our 
Old Testament defence of slaveholding- ; such as this, 
that however it may have been allowed to the Hebrews, 
by their older and ruder law, " because of the hardness 
of their hearts," it is condemned by the new law of 
love, taught by Jesus. Now, our refutation (and it is 
perfect) is, that this law of love was just as fully an- 
nounced by slaveholding- Moses as it is by Jesus ; in 
terms just as full of sweetness, benevolence, and uni- 
versal fraternity. Yea more, the very words of Jesus 
cited by them and their Socinian allies, as the most 
striking instances of the superior mildness and love 
of His teachings, are in most cases quoted from Moses 
himself ! The authority by which Christ enforced them 
upon His Jewish auditors was Moses' own ! Such is 
the shameful ignorance of these fanatics concerning 
the real contents of that Old Testament which they de- 
preciate. Thus, Christ's epitome of the whole law into 
the two commands to love God and our neighbour, is 
avowedly quoted from "the law," i. e., the Pentateuch. 
See Matthew xxii. 36 to 39, and Mark xii. 28 to 33. It 
may be found in Deut. vi. 4 and 5, and in Levit. xix. 18. 
Even the scribe of Mark, xii. 32, Pharisee as he was, 
understood better than these modern Pharisees of abo- 
litionism, that Christ's ethics were but a reproduction 
of Moses'. He avows the correctness of Christ's ren- 
dering of the Pentateuch law, and very intelligently 
adduces additional evidence of it by evident allusion 
to 1 Samuel xv. 22, and Hosea vi. 6. Again : does 
Christ inculcate forgiveness of injuries, benefactions 
towards enemies, and the embracing of aliens in our 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 195 

philanthropy as well as kindred and fellow-citizens ? 
He does but cite them to the authority of Moses in 
Levit. xix. 18, Exod. xxiii. 4, 5, Lcvit. xxiv. 22, Exod. 
xxii, 21, xxxiii. 9. For here their great prophet himself 
had taught them that revenge must be left to God, that 
an embarrassed or "distressed enemy must be kindly 
assisted, and that the alien must be treated in all hu- 
mane respects as a fellow-citizen, under a lively and 
sympathetic sense of their own sufferings when they 
were oppressed aliens in Egypt, The Golden Rule, as 
stated by our Saviour, is but a practical application of 
the Mosaic precept "to love our neighbours as our- 
selves," borrowed from Moses, In Matt, vii, 12, Christ, 
after giving the Golden Rule, adds, "for this is the law 
and the prophets." That is, the Golden Rule is the 
summary of the morality of the Pentateuch and Old 
Testament prophets. We repeat that there is not one 
trait of love, of benevolence, of sweet expansive fra- 
ternity, of amiable equity, contained in any of Christ's 
precepts or parables, that is not also found in the Laws 
of Moses, Their moral teachings are absolutely at 
one, in principle ; and so they must be, if both are from 
the unchangeable God. To say otherwise is a denial 
of inspiration ; it is infidelity; and indeed abolitionism 
is infidelity. Our reply, then, is, that Christ's giving 
the law of love cannot he inconsistent loith his atdhor- 
izing slavehokling ; because Hoses gave the same law of 
love, and yet indisputably authorized slaveholding. We 
defy all the sophisms of the whole crew of the perverse 
and destitute of the truth, to obscure, much less to rebut 
this answer, without denying the inspiration and even 
the common truthfulness of Moses. But that they will 



196 A DEFENCE OF VIRGIKIA. 

not stickle to do : for what do they care for Moses, or 
Christ either, in comparison of their fanatical idol? 

But a more special word should be devoted to the ar- 
gument from the Golden Rule. The sophism is so bald, 
and the clear evolution of it has been given so often, 
even in the humblest manuals of ethics prepared for 
school-boys, that it is tiresome to repeat its exposure. 
But as leading Abolitionists continue to advance the 
oft-torn and- tattered folly, the friends of truth must con- 
tinue to tear it to shreds. The whole reasoning of the 
Abolitionists proceeds on the absurd idea, that any ca- 
price or vain desire we might entertain towards our 
fellowman, if we were ia his place, and he in ours, 
must be the rule of our conduct towards him, whether 
the desire would be in itself right or not. This absurd- 
ity has been illustrated by a thousand instances. On 
this rule, a parent who, were he a child again, would be 
wayward and self-indulgent, commits a clear sin in 
restraining or punishing the waywardness of his child, 
for this is doing the opposite of what he would wish 
were he again the child. Judge and sheriif commit a 
criminal murder in condemning and executing the 
most atrocious felon ; for were they on the gallows 
themselves, the overmastering love of life would very 
surely prompt them to desire release. In a word, 
whatever ill-regulated desire we are conscious of hav- 
ing, or of being likely to have, in reversed circum- 
stances, that desire we are bound to make the rule of 
our action in granting the parallel caprice of any other 
man, be he bore, beggar, highwayman, or what not. 
On this understanding, the Golden Rule would become 
any thing but golden ; it would be a rule of iniquity; 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 197 

for instead of making impartial equity our regulating 
principle, it would make the accidents of man's crimi- 
nal caprice the law of his acts. It would become 
every man's duty to enable all other men to do what- 
ever his own sinful heart, mutatis mutandis, might 
prompt. 

The absurdity of the abolitionist argument may be 
shown, again, by "carrying the war into Africa." Wc 
prove from it, by a process precisely as logical as 
theirs, that emancipation is a sin. Surely the principle 
of the Grolden Rule binds the slave just as much as the 
master. If the desire which one would feel {mutatis 
mutandis) must govern each man's conduct, then the 
slave may be verj^ sure that, were he the master, he 
would naturally desire to retain the services of the 
slaves who were his lawful property. Therefore, ac- 
cording to this abolition rule, he is morally bound to 
decline his own liberty; i.e., to act towards his master 
as he, were he the master, would desire his slave to act. 

It is clear, then, that our Saviour, by His Golden 
Rule, never intended to establish so absurd a law. The 
rule of our conduct to our neighbour is not any desire 
which we might have, were we to change places ; but 
it is that desire which tve should, in that case, be morally 
entitled to have. To whatsoever treatment we should 
conscientiously think ourselves morally entitled, were 
we slaves instead of masters, all that treatment we as 
masters are morally bound to give our servants, so far 
as ability and a just regard for other duties enables 
us. Whether that treatment should include emancipa- 
tion, depends on another question, whether the desire 
which we, if slaves, should very naturally feel to be 



198 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

emancipated, is a righteous desire or not ; or, in other 
words, whether the obligation to service is rightful. 
Hence, before the Golden Rule can be cited as enjoining 
emancipation, it must first be settled whether the mas- 
ter's title is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul gives pre- 
cisely the true application of this rule when he says : 
"Masters, give unto your servants that which is just 
and equal." And this means, not emancipation from 
servitude, but good treatment as servants ; which is 
proven by the fact that the precept contemplates the 
relation of masters and servants as still subsisting. All 
this is so clear, that it would be an insult to the intelli- 
gence of the reader to tax-ry longer upon the sophism. 
We only add, that the obvious meaning above put upon 
the Golden Rule is that given to it by all sensible ex- 
positors, such as Whitby, Scott, Henry, before it re- 
ceived an application to this controversy. Yet, though 
this obvious answer has been a hundred times oifered, 
abolitionists still obtrude the miserable cheat, in 
speeches, in pamphlets, in tracts, as though it were the 
all-sufficient demonstration of the anti-Christian char- 
acter of slavery. They will doubtless continue a hun- 
dred times more to offer it, to gull none, however, ex- 
cept the wilfully blind. 

§ 10. Was Christ Afraid to Condemn Slavery? 

The other general evasion of the New Testament ar- 
gument for the lawfulness of slavery, is to say: That 
Jesus Christ and his apostles did not indeed explicitly 
condemn slavery; but that they forbore from doing so 
for prudential reasons. They saw, say these aboli- 
tionists, that it was a sin universally prevalent, en- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AEGUMENT. 199 

twined with the wliole fabrick of human society, and 
sustained by a tremendous weight of sinful prejudice 
and self-interest. To denounce it categorically would 
have been to plunge the infant church, at its feeble be- 
ginning, into all the oppositions, slanders, and strifes 
of a great social revolution, thus jeopardizing all its 
usefulness te the souls of men. For this reason, Christ 
and his apostles wisely refrained from direct attack, 
and contented themselves with spreading through the 
world principles of love and equity, before which 
slavery would siu-ely melt away in due time. So say all 
the abolitionists. So says Dr. Wayland, in substance, 
not only in his discussion of slavery, but in his more 
responsible and deliberate work, the "Moral Science." 
In that essay, Bk. II., Pt. II., Chap. I., § i, he says : "The 
Gospel was designed, not for one race, or for one time, 
but for all races, and for all times. It looked not at 
the abolition of this form of evil for that age alone, but 
for its universal abolition. Hence the important object 
of its author was to gain it a lodgement in every part 
of the known world : so that by its universal difi'usion 
among all classes of society, it might quietly and 
peacefully modify and subdue the evil passions of 
men ; and thus, without violence, work a revolution in 
the whole mass of mankind. In this manner alone 
could its object, a universal moral revolution, have 
been accomplished. For if it had forbidden the evil 
instead of subverting the principle — if it had pro- 
claimed the unlawfulness of slavery, and taught slaves 
to resist the oppression of their masters, it w^ould in- 
stantly have arrayed the two parties in deadly hos- 
tility throughout the civilized world ; its announcement 



200 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

would Lave been the signal of servile war, and the 
very name of the Christian religion would have been 
forgotten amidst the agitations of universal bloodshed. 
The fact that, under these circumstances, the Gospel 
does not forbid slavery, affords no reason to suppose 
that it does not mean to prohibit it ; much less does it 
afford ground for belief that Jesus Christ intended to 
authorize it." 

Such is the Jesuitry which is gravely charged, by a 
professed minister of the Christian religion, and promi- 
nent instructor of youth, upon our Lord Jesus Christ 
and his apostles ! Such is the cowardly prudence 
which it imputes to men who, every one, died martyrs 
for their moral courage and unvarying fidelity to truth. 
And thus is the divine origin and agency by which, the 
Bible declares, and by which alone Christianity is to 
succeed in a hostile world, quietly left out of view; 
and American youth are taught to apprehend it as a 
creed which has no Divine king ruling the universe for 
its propagation, no Almighty providence engaged for 
its protection, no Holy Ghost working irresistibly in 
the hearts of such as God shall call, to subdue their en- 
mity to the obedience of Christ : but Christianity is 
merely a human system of moral reform, liable to total 
extinction, unless it is a little sly in keeping back its 
unpopular points, until an adroit occasion offers, (such, 
for instance, as the power and support of a resistless 
Yankee majority in some confederation of slavehold- 
ers,) to make the unpopular docti'inc go down, or at 
least, to choke off those who dare to make wry faces ! 
Christ and the twelve went out, forsooth, into a sinful 
and perishing world, professing to teach men the way 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 201 

of salvation ; and yet, although they knew that any sin 
persevered in must damn the soul, they were totally si- 
lent a:s to one great and universal crime 1 They came 
avowedly to "reprove the world of sin, of righteous- 
ness, and of judgment ;" and yet uttered no rebuke for 
this " sum of all villainies." They went preaching the 
Gospel of repentance from all known sin, as the sole 
condition of eternal life : and yet never notified their 
hearers of the sin of one universal practice prevalent 
among them, lest, forsooth, they should raise a storm of 
prejudice against their system 1 Nay, far worse than 
this : they are not satisfied with a suppressio veri, but 
as though to insure the fatal misleading of the. con- 
sciences which they undertook to guide to life, their 
policy of pusillanimity leads them to a positive sug- 
gestio falsi. Had they been simply and wholly silent 
about the great sin, this had been bad enough. But 
this is not what they did. It is a glozing deceit to at- 
tempt to cover up the case under the pretended admis- 
sion that "the Gospel does not forbid slavery," as 
though this were the whole of it. Christ and his apos- 
tles allude to slavery: they say a multitude of things 
about it : they travel all around it : they limit its 
rights and define its duties : they retrench its abuses : 
they admit the perpetrators of its wrong, (if it be a 
wrong,) unrepenting, into the bosom of the church, and 
to its highest offices. They do almost every thing which 
is calculated to justify in masters the inference that it 
is lawful. And then they finally dismiss the whole 
matter, without one explicit warning of its sinfulness 
and danger. According to this theory, the apostles 
find their trusting pupils on the brink of the precipice, 

9* 



202 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA 

surrounded with much darkness ; and having added 
almost every circumstance adapted farther to obfus- 
cate their consciences, they coolly leave them there, 
with^no other guidance than a reference to those gen- 
eral principles of equity which, beautifully taught by 
Moses, had already signally failed to enlighten them. 

Dr. Wayland's hypothesis is also deceitful and erro- 
neous, in representing Christ as having no alternatives 
save the one which he imputes to him, or else of so 
denouncing slavery as to " teach slaves to resist the op- 
pression of their masters," and thus lighting the flames 
of servile war. Is this so? AVhen a given claim is 
condemned by the Bible as not grounded in right, does 
it necessarily follow on Gospel principles that those on 
whom it is made must resist it by force ? Surely not. 
The uniform teaching of our Saviour to the wronged 
individual is, " that he resist not evil." Christ, if he had 
regarded slaveholding as sinful, would not indeed have 
incited slaves to resistance, any more than he did the 
victims of polygamy which he condemned. But he would 
have taught his disciples the sinfulness of the relation, 
and within the pale of his own spiritual commonwealth, 
the Church, he would have enforced reformation by 
refusing to admit or retain any who persevered in the 
wrong. Less than this he could not have done. 

The hypothesis is also false to facts and to the actual 
method of his mission towards deeply rooted sins, as 
declared both by his words and conduct. He expressly 
repudiates this very theory of action. He declares that 
he came "not to send peace on earth, but a sword:" 
and announces himself as the grand incendiary of the 
world. How degrading to the almighty king of Zion is 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 203 

this imputation of politic cowardice ! And how different 
from the real picture where we see him boldly exposing 
the hj'pocrisy of tlie Jewish rulers, and assailing" their 
most cherished deceptions, though he knew that the 
price of his truthfulness would be his blood 1 And can 
this paltry theory be true of that Paul, who took his 
hearers to record, in full view of his dread account, that 
he was "clear from the blood of all men, because he 
had not shunned to declare to them all the counsel of 
God ?" (Acts, XX. 27.) This of the man who everywhere 
assailed and explicitly denounced the idolatry of Greece 
and Rome, established by law, entwined with every 
feeling-, and defended by imperial might ? This of men 
who, sternly reprobating the universal libertinism of 
the heathen world, attacked what every one, counte- 
nanced by sages and statesmen, regarded as a lawful 
indulgence ? This of men who boldly roused every pre- 
judice of the Jewish heart, by declaring their darling- 
system of rites and types effete, their ceremonial right- 
eousness a cheat, and the -middle wall of partition 
between them and the Gentiles, the bulwark of their 
proud spiritual aristocracy, broken down ? It is slander. 
Finally, this hypothesis represents that Saviour who 
claimed omniscience, as adopting a policy which was as 
futile as dishonest. He forbore the utterance of any 
express testimony against the sin of slaveholding, say 
they, leaving the church to find it out by deduction 
from general principles of equity. But in point of 
fact, the church never began to make such deduction, 
until near the close of the 18th century. Neither primi- 
tive, nor reformed, nor Romanist, nor modern divines 
taught the doctrine of the intrinsic sinfulness of slave- 



204: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

holding. The church as a body never dreamed it. 
Slavery remained almost universal. It remained for the 
political agitators of atheistic, Jacobin France, almost 
eighteen hundred years after Christ's birtli, to give 
active currency to this new doctrine, and thus to infuse 
energy into the fanaticism of the few erratic Christian 
teachers, such as Wesley, who had hitherto asserted 
this novelty. Now, did Christ foresee this ? If he did 
not, he is not divine. If he did, then Dr. Waylaud 
believes that he deliberately chose a plan which con- 
signed seventeen centuries of Christians to a sin, and 
as many of slaves to a wrong, which he all along ab- 
horred. Credat Judceus Apella! 

The book from which we have extracted these words 
of Dr. Wayland, was put forth by him as a text-book 
for the instruction of young persons in academies and 
colleges, in the science of morals. We are informed that 
it is extensively used for this purpose. What can be 
expected of that people which suffers the very springs 
of its morality to be thus corrupted, by inculcating 
these ethics of expediency ? Not satisfied with teaching 
to mortals that species of morality, so called, which 
makes convenience the measure of obligation, this scribe 
of their Israel imputes the same degrading principle to 
the Redeemer of men, and Author of religion, in thus 
suppressing the truth, and intimating error to whole 
generations of his own followers, in order to avoid the 
inconveniences of candour. So that unsuspecting youth 
are thus taught to approve and imitate this corrupt 
expediency, in tl*e very person of the Redeemer God, 
whom they are commanded to adore. Will the Yankee 
give an actual apotheosis to his crooked principles, in 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 205 

the person of an imaginary New England Christ ? We 
thank God that this is not the Christ of the Bible, nor 
our Redeemer, but only the hideous invention of " men 
of perverse minds and destitute of the truth." But 
since we are taught (Psalm cxv. 8) that they who 
worship false Gods are like unto them, that is to say, 
that idolaters always reproduce in themselves all the 
abominations which they adore in their idols, we need 
no longer wonder at anything which the Yankee people 
may do. Hence that state of publick morals blazoned 
to the world by the effrontery of their own corrupt 
press, charged upon each other in their mutual recrimi- 
nations, and betrayed in their crimes against the general 
weal. 

M concluding the biblical part of this discussion, it 
may be expected that we should indicate more exactly 
the influence which we suppose Christianity ought to 
have exerted upon slavery, and its ultimate destiny 
under pure Bible teachings. It may be asked : " When 
you claim that slavery is literally and simply a right- 
eous relation, in itself, if it be not perverted and 
abused ; do you mean that this is the normal and per- 
fect relation for the labouring man ; that this is to be 
the fullest and most blessed social development of 
Christianity: that it ought to subsist in the best states 
of Christian society, and will endure even in the millen- 
nium ?" We reply, that one uniform effect of Christian- 
ity on slavery, -has been to ameliorate it, to remove its 
perversions and abuses, just as it does those of the 
other lawful relations among men ; to make better mas- 
ters and better servants, and thus to promote the wel- 
fare of both. Domestic slavery has been violently and 



206 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

mischievously ended in the South ; and it is doubtless 
ended here in this form, finally. And it has long been 
manifest that the radical and anti-Christian tendency 
of the age is likely speedily to break up this form of 
servitude in other places where it still prevails. But 
true slavery, that is, the involuntary subjection of one 
man to the will of another, is not thereby any more 
abolished than sin and death are abolished. And least 
of all will real bondage of man to man be abolished in 
countries governed by radical democracy. The Scrip- 
tural, the milder and more benign form of servitude is 
swept away, in the arrogance of false political philoso- 
phy, to be replaced by more pretentious but more grind- 
ing forms of society. But, it may be asked : Will not 
the diffusion of the pure and blessed principles of*the 
Gospel ultimately extinguish all forms of slavery ? We 
answer : Yes, we devoutly trust it will, not by making- 
masters too righteous to hold slaves, but by so correct- 
ing the ignorance, thriftlessness, indolence, and vice of 
labouring people, that the institution of slavery will be 
no longer needed. Just so, we hope that the spread of 
Christianity will some day abolish penitentiaries and 
jails : but this does not imply that to put rogues into 
penitentiaries is not now, and will not continue, so long 
as rogues shall continue to deserve impi'isonmcnt, an 
act which an angel might perform without sullying his 
morality. So likewise, we hope that our ransomed 
world will see the day when defensive war and military 
establishments will be superseded : superseded not be- 
cause defensive war and the calling of the Christian 
soldier are immoral when one's country is wrongfully 
invaded ; but because there will be none immoral 



THE NEW TESTAMENT ARGUMENT. 207 

enough to commit the aggressions which now justify 
these* costly, though righteous expedients of defence. 
There appears, in many minds, a strange impotency to 
comprehend the truth, that the strict righteousness of 
the relation maintained, and the treatment observed to- 
wards a person, may depend on that person's character. 
They will not see that, as it may be strictly moral to 
punish one who is guilty because of his guilt, and yet 
sutlering is not intrinsic good in itself ; so it may be 
perfectly righteous to hold a class in bondage, which is 
incapable of freedom, and yet it may be true still that 
bondage is not a good in itself. Because they cannot 
accept the extreme dogma, that domestic slavery is the 
heau ideal of the proper relation of labour to capital, 
they seem to imagine that they are bound in consist- 
ency to hold that it is somehow an evil. Yet they have 
too much reverence for God's word to assert, with the 
abolitionists, in the teeth of its fair meaning, that sla- 
very is sin per se. So, they attempt to stand on an in- 
termediate ground of invisible and infinitesimal breadth. 
The plain solution of the matter is, that slavery may 
not be the heau ideal of the social organization ; that 
there is a true evil in the necessity for it, but that this 
evil is not slavery, but the ignorance and vice in the 
labouring classes, of which slavery is the useful and 
righteous remedy; righteous so long as the condition 
of its utility exists. Others pass to another extreme, 
and seeing that the Bible undoubtedly teaches that 
slaveholding is righteous, they liken the relation to 
those of the husband and father. There is, however, 
this obvious difference : These relations were estab- 
lished in paradise before man fell. Their righteousness 



208 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and usefulness are not dependent on the fact that man 
is a sinner, and they would be appropriately continued 
as long as men are in the body, though all were per- 
fectly wise and holy. But the propriety of slavery, 
like that of the restraints and punishments of civil g'ov- 
ernment, rests on the fact that man is depraved and 
fallen. Such is his character, that the rights of the 
whole, and the greatest welfare of the whole, may, in 
many cases, demand the subjection of one part of 
society to another, even as man's sinfulness demands 
the subjection of all to civil government. Slavery is, 
indeed, but one form of the institution, government. 
Government is controul. Some controul over all is 
necessary, righteous, and beneficent : the degree of it 
depends on the character of those to be controuled. As 
that character rises in the scale of true virtue, and self- 
command, the degree of outward controul may be prop- 
erly made lighter. If the lack of those properties in 
any class is so great as to demand, for the good and 
safety of the whole, that extensive controul which 
amounts to slavery, then slavery is righteous, righteous 
by precisely the same reason that other government is 
righteous. And this is the Scriptural account of the 
origin of slavery, as justly incurred by the sin and de- 
pravity of man. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 209 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE ETHICAL A RG DM EXT. 

§ 1. The flimsy character of the arguments based by 
the abolitionists on the Scriptures, betrays another 
than a biblical origin for their doctrines. They come 
primarily not from God's word, but from " philosophy 
falsely so called ;" the abolitionists, having determined 
on them in advance, are only concerned with the sacred 
records, to thrust them aside by quibbles and evasions. 
But the only sure and perfect rule of right is the Bible. 
This, we have seen, condemns domestic slavery neither 
expressly nor by implication. It shows us the institu- 
tion in the family of the " Father of the faithful," the 
" friend of God," and there recognized by God himself 
in the solemn sacrament of the Old Testament circum- 
cision : We have found it expressly authorized to God's 
chosen people, Israel, and defended in the Decalogue 
itself: We see it existing throughout the ages of that 
dispensation, while inspired men, so far from condemn- 
ing, practised it : We see that it is not removed by the 
fuller light of the New Testament ; but on the con- 
trary, its duties are defined, and slaveholders admitted 
to all the privileges of the Church : We learn, in a 
word, that domestic slavery existed throughout the 
ages of revelation, was practised continually by multi 



210 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tudes of God's own people, was never once rebuked, 
but often recognized and authorized. We assert then, 
tliat, according to. that infallible standard, it is lawful. 
Yet, it is condemned in unmeasured terms by -most 
of the people of Christendom, is said to be abhorrent to 
the political ethicks of the age, and has been reproba- 
ted by some of the fathers of our own commonwealth. 
What then? In the emphatic language" of the book 
whose protection we claim : " Let God be true, but 
every man a liar." Nor are we mucli concerned to ex- 
plain away this collision between human speculation 
and God's word. When we consider the weakness of 
human reason, and the mortifying history of its vaga- 
ries ; when we remember how many dogmas once held 
for axioms are now exploded, and what monstrous 
crimes and follies have been upheld by the unanimous 
consent of philosophers, we are not afraid to adopt the 
teachings of the All-Wise, in preference to the deduc- 
tions of blundering and purblind mortals. When the 
political experience of the world shall have matured 
and corrected the opinions of men, we have no fear but 
that all the truly wise, and good, and philosophical, will 
justify us, and will acknowledge that this simple, this 
decried, tliis abhorred expedient of inspired law-givers 
was, after all, best conformed to the true wants and 
welfare of those to whom it was applied, and wiser 
than any of the conceited nostrums of political quack- 
ery; that, in short, "the foolishness of God was wiser 
than men." Here, then, we place our feet ; and our 
answer to reviling abolitionists and a frowning woi'ld 
is : Your reproach is not against us, but God. Go and 
convict the All- Wise of folly, the Infinite Holiness of 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 211 

injustice. Amidst the cruel sufferings of the war wliich 
was thrust upon us for this institution, and of the vio- 
lent and disastrous overthrow of our liberties ; amidst 
the floods of obloquy which our interested persecutors 
have belched forth upon us, and the contemptuous neg- 
lect of the nations, our confidence is in God's counte- 
nance. He permits us to be sorely chastened for our 
sins ; but he will not finally suffer his own honour to be 
reproached. He will surely rebuke in the end, the folly 
and impiety of our slanderers, and "bring forth our 
righteousness as the noonday." 

The Socinian and skeptical ty|3e of all tlie evasions 
of our Scriptural argument has been already intimated. 
If the most profane and reckless wresting of God's 
word will not serve their turn, to make it speak abo- 
litionism, then they not seldom repudiate its authority. 
One of their leaders, long a professed minister of the 
Gospel, declares, at the close of a train of tortuous 
sophisms, that if he were compelled to believe the Bible 
countenances slavery, he should be compelled to give 
up the Bible : thereby virtually confessing that he had 
never been convinced of the infallibility of that which, 
for thirty years, he had been pretending to preach to 
men as infallible. Others, more blatant and blasphe- 
mous, when compelled to admit that both the Bible 
and the American constitution recognized slavery, ex- 
claimed : " Give me, then, an anti-slavery constitution, 
an anti-slavery Bible, and an anti-slavery God !" 

Orthodox Christians have always held it as a rule 
perfectly settled, that a revelation which was made to 
yield to any and every supposed deduction of reason, 
would be no authoritative rule of faith at all. It is only 



212 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

•when the express word of Scripture clearly contradicts 
a proposition which appears to be a primary intuition 
of the reason, that it constitutes any difficulty in the 
reception of God's word. But can this prejudice against 
slavery claim to be such? The tests of such truths are, 
that they shall be seen in their own light to be true ; 
that they shall be necessary; and that all sane human 
beings shall inevitably believe them, if they comprehend 
the terms of the statements. Obviously, abolitionism 
can claim none of these traits. Instead of being self- 
evident, we shall show that it is a mere deduction from 
a deceitful and baseless theory. To the mind of all for- 
mer ages, it has failed to commend itself as true. All 
ancient nations, and most moderns, have believed the 
contrary. All ancient philosophers, and all Bible saints, 
the latter at least as conscientious and clear-headed as 
modern fanatics, believed slavery to be lawful. The 
great philosophers of the middle ages, surpassed by 
none in acumen, and guided by the uninspired lights of 
a Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, thought and wrote with- 
out suspecting the sinfulness of slavery. Thousands of 
Christians in the Southern States, of as enlightened 
and honest consciences as any in the world, lived and 
died masters, with no other self-reproach than that they 
did not more faithfully fulfil the master's duties. Since 
it is not a self-evident, not a necessary, not a univer- 
sally received truth, that slavery is sinful, we therefore 
claim the authority of the Scriptures as conclusive, and 
boldly repudiate all logical obligation to reconcile them 
with the vain conclusions of human speculation. " He 
that reproveth God, let him answer it." 

Yet we acknowledge the obligation of those who 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 213 

undertake to expound God's word, " to commend it to 
every man's conscience in the sight of God," so far as 
the self-confidence and petulance of the depraved rea- 
son will permit. To show, therefore, that we have no 
fear of any Ic^gitimate human speculation, and to do 
what in us lies "to justify the ways of God to men," 
we propose in this chapter to examine the ethical argu- 
ment against slavery with some care. 

§ 2. Misrepresentations Cleared. 

But abolitionists, by their audacious assumptions, 
endeavour to throw the question out of the pale of dis- 
cussion : they exclaim that it needs no wire-drawn in- 
ference, it is self-evident, that a system which dehu- 
manizes a human being, and makes his very person like 
a brute's body, the property of another creature ; which 
necessitates the entailing of ignorance and vice; which 
ignores the marital and parental rights; which subjects 
the chastity of the female to the brute will of her mas- 
ter, and which fills Southern homes with the constant 
outcry of oppression, is an iniquity: and that he who 
attempts to cite the testimony of reason and Scripture 
in defence of such wrongs, ofiers an insult to their 
minds and consciences which self-respect requires them 
to repel at once. The malignant industry of our ene- 
mies in propagating these monstrous slanders, compels 
us, therefore, to pause at the outset of the discussion, 
to I'ebut them, and disabuse the minds of readers. And 
it is here asserted, once for all, that the popular appre- 
hension of the slave's condition and treatment, spread 
throughout Europe and the North, is utterly false : that 



214: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

it is the result of nothing less than persistent, wilful, 
and almost incredible lying on the part of interested 
accusers ; and that this is recognized by every intelli- 
gent European and Northern man who has resided 
among us long enough truly to know the institution of 
slavery. The character disclosed by the Yankees in 
the war lately closed, has effectually taught the rest of 
the world to recognize the probability of our charge. 

The reader is first, then, requested to recall the defi- 
nition of American slavery admitted by us in the be- 
ginning of the fifth chapter. It is not an ownership of 
the servant's moral personality, soul, religious desti- 
nies, or conscience ; but a property in his involuntary 
labour. And this right to his labour implies just so 
much controul over his person as enables his master to 
possess his labour. Our doctrine "hath this extent, no 
more." This we established beyond cavil by a refer- 
ence to our laws and usages. Now, the abolitionist 
argues that the master's claim over the servant, if just, 
must imply a right to employ any means necessary to 
perpetuate it, such as to keep the mind of his slaves 
stupid and dark, because this is necessary to prevent 
his aspiring to his liberty. We reply that such means 
are not necessary in the nature of the case. To assert 
their necessity audaciously begs the question. If the 
master's claim were so essentially unrighteous, that 
any intelligent reflection in the slave would justify his 
indignation and resistance, then it might be more con- 
venient for the master to make him an unreflecting 
animal. But the very subject in debate is, whether 
tlie claim is unrighteous. Suppose that the relation 
can be demonstrated to be right, reasonable, and be- 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 215 

neficent for the servant, (which is what. we assert,) 
then the only effect of intelligent reflection and of 
knowledge and virtue combined in the slave's char- 
acter, will be to render him better satisfied with his 
condition. So that to degrade his soul is not a neces- 
sary means for perpetuating the master's authority, 
and not a part of the rights of masters. And now, it 
is emphatically asserted that Southern masters, as a 
class, did not seek or desire to repress either the 
mental or religious culture of their servants' souls ; 
but the contrary. It is our solemn and truthful testi- 
mony, that the nearly universal temper of masters was 
to promote and not to hinder it ; and the intellectual 
and religious culture of our slaves met no other general 
obstacle, save that which operates among the labour- 
ing poor of all countries, their own indifference to it, 
and the necessities of nearly constant manual laboui'. 
If there was any exception, it was caused by the mis- 
chievous meddling of abolitionists themselves, ob- 
truding on the servants that false doctrine so sternly 
condemned by St. Paul. Southern masters desired the 
intelligence and morality of their servants. As a 
class, masters and their families performed a large 
amount of gratuitous labour for that end ; and uni- 
versally met all judicious efforts for it from others with 
cordial approval. An intelligent Christian servant was 
universally recognized as being, in a pecuniary view, 
a better servant. Is it asserted that there is still much 
degrading ignorance among Southern negroes ? True : 
but it exists not because of our system, but in spite of 
it. There is more besotted ignorance in the peasantry 
of all other countries. It is the dispassionate convio 



216 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tion of intelligent Southerners, that our male slaves 
presented a better average of virtue and intelligence 
than the rank and file of the Federal armies by which 
we were overrun : and even the negro troops of our 
conquerors, although mostly recruited from the more 
idle and vicious slaves, were better than the white I 
The Africans of these States, three generations ago, 
were the most debased among pagan savages. A nation 
is not educated in a day. How long have the British 
people been in reaching their present civilization under 
God's providential tutelage ? The South has advanced 
the Africans, as a whole, more rapidly than any other 
low savage race has ever been educated. Hence we 
boldly claim, that our system, instead of necessitating 
the ignorance and vice of its subjects, deserves the 
credit of a most beneficent culture. 

We may here refer to the charge, that Virginian 
slavery condemned the Africans to mental and religious 
darkness, by forbidding them all access to letters; 
because the laws of the commonwealth forbade the 
teaching of them to read. Will not even the intelligent 
reader, after the currency' of this charge, be surprised 
to learn that there has never been such a law ujyon the 
statute books of Virginia ? To assert that there has been 
such a law, is an unmitigated falsehood. The only 
enactment which touches the subject is the following 
sentence, in the statute defining what were " unlawful 
assemblages" of negroes. "And every assemblage of 
negroes for the purpose of instruction in reading and 
writing, or in the night time for any purpose, shall be 
an unlawful assembly." Stat. 1830-31, p. lOt. The 
previous section, commencing the definition of these 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 217 

unlawful assemblies, expressly states that they are un- 
lawful if held loithout the mader's consent. Our courts 
and lawyers uniformly held that, without this feature, 
no assemblage of negroes, to do any thing not criminal 
per se, can be unlawful; because the whole spirit of 
Virginian laws recognized the master's authority. His 
.slaves were subject to his government. His authoriza- 
tion legalized everything not intrinsically criminal. 
Accordingly, the uniform interpretation given to the 
above words was, that it was the assembling of slaves 
for instruction in letters by others than their master or 
his authorized agents, which constituted the unlawful 
assembly. The whole extent of the law was, to arm 
masters with the power to prevent the impertinent 
interference of others with his servants, under the 
pretext of literary instruction ; a power which the 
meddlesomeness of abolitionists pointed out as most 
wholesome and necessary. There was no more law to 
prevent the muster from teaching his slaves than his 
children; either by himself, or his authorized agent; 
and thousands of slaves in Virginia were taught to read 
by their masters, or their children and teachers. As 
many Virginian slaves were able to read their Bibles, 
and had Bibles to read, as could probably be found 
among the labouring poor of boasted Britain. Here let 
another unmitigated falsehood be exposed. Since the 
ill-starred overthrow of our system, the most noted 
religious newspaper of the North, mentioning an appro- 
priation of Bibles by the American Bible Society for 
gifts to negroes of the South, applauded the measure, 
because, as it asserted, "the Southern States had 
hitherto forbidden the circulation of the Scriptures 

10 



218 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA 

among their slaves." It would be mere puling in us, to 
affect the belief that this amazing statement was made in 
ignorance; when the officials of the Society whose organ 
this slanderer professed to be, well know that, ever 
since the institution of the Bible Society, they were 
scarcely more familiar with any species of applications, 
than those of Christian masters and mistresses, and of 
Southern ministers, for Scriptures suitable for their 
servants. There has never been a law in Virginia 
preventing the gratuitous circulation of the Bible among 
slaves, or the possession or reading of it by slaves : 
and it is confidently believed that there has never been 
a single man in Virginia who desired such a law, or 
who would have executed it, had it defdcd our statute 
book; unless, perchance, it was some infidel of that 
French school which invented abolitionism. 

It is charged again, that slavery impiously and in- 
humanly sacrificed the immortal soul of the slave, to 
secure the master's pecuniary interest in him. This 
slander is already in part answered. We farther declare 
that neither our laws, nor the current temper and usage 
of masters, interfered with the slave's religious rights. 
On the contrary, they all protected and established 
them. The law protected the legal right of the slave to 
his Sabbath, forbidding the master to employ him on 
that day in secular labours, other than those of necessity 
and mercy. Instances in which slaves were prevented 
by their masters from attending the publick worship of 
God, were fully as rare among us, and as much rep- 
robated, as similar abuses are in any other Christian 
country. On the contrary, the masters were almo^ 
universally more anxious that their servants should 



THE ETHICAL AEGUMENT. 219 

attend publick worship, than the servants were to avail 
.themselves of the privilege. There wj^si scarcely a 
Christian church in the Soutli, whi ' '^^ * .it j black 
communicants sitting amicably al gave the i table be- 
side their masters; and the w.^nd required tof these 
adult communicants was rcportc(tngland givttistics of 
the churches, as not less than a half nprenticcfeWe can 
emphatically declare, that we never saw or heard of a 
house of worship in the South, where sittings were not 
provided for the blacks at the expense of the whites : 
and it is believed that if there was such a case, it was 
in a neighbourhood containing no negro population. 
And in nearly every case, these sittings were more ample 
than the blacks could be induced to fill. Nor was there 
any expenditure of money on ecclesiastical objects, 
which was more cheerfully and liberally made, than that 
for the religious culture of the slaves. Further, w^ith a 
few exceptions they enjoyed the fullest religious liberty 
in the selection of their religious communions and places 
of worship. Masters refused them liberty to join the 
churches of their choice more rarely than parents in 
New England and Old England perpetrated that act of 
spiritual tyranny upon their wives and daughters. So 
punctilious was this respect for the spiritual liberty of 
the servants, that masters universally yielded to it their 
own denominational preferences and animosities, allow- 
ing their servants to join the sects most repugnant to 
their own, even in cases as extreme as that of the Prot- 
estant and Komanist. The white people of the South 
may consider themselves truly fortunate, if they pre- 
serve, under, the despotism which now rules them, as 
much religious liberty as our negroes received at our 
hands. 



J 



220 Jl defence of Virginia. 

Our system is represented as oppressive and cruel, 
appointing different penalties for crimes to the black 
man anu tWner2 iht; man; depriving' the slave of the 
privilege f>rcr profeso* against a \^hite in a court of 
justice; si. institution c'to frequent and inhuman cor- 
poral puni'Ore familiar.d making it a crime for him to 
exercise ^e of Chr'al right of self-defence, when violently 
assailed by a white man. The reply is, that the penal 
code of Virginia was properly made different in the case 
of the whites and the blacks, because of the lower moral 
tone of the latter. Many things, which are severe 
penalties to the white man, would be no punishment to 
the negro. And the penal code for the latter was 
greatly milder, both in its provisions, and in the temper 
of its administration, than that which obtained in 
England over her white citizens, far into this century. 
The slave was not permitted to testify against a white 
man, and this was a restriction made proper by his low 
grade of truthfulness, his difference of race, and the fact 
that he was to so great a degree subject to the will of 
another. But the seeming severity of this restriction 
was almost wholly removed, among us, by the fact that 
he always had, in his master, an interested and zealous 
patron and guardian, in all collisions with otjier white 
men. From oppression by his own master he found 
bis sufficient protection, usually, in affection and self- 
interest. But in most of the abolition States, the 
wretched free black was equally disqualified to testify 
against his white oppressor ; and the vast difference 
against him was, that he had no white master, the legal 
equal of his assailant, eagerly engaged by self-interest, 
affection, and honourable pride, to protect him. The 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 221 

black " citizen" was the helpless victim of the white 
swindler or bully. And such was usually the hypocrisy 
of abolitionism. 

It is true again, that our law gave the master the 
power of corporal punishment, and required the slave 
to submit. So does the law of England give it to par- 
ents over children, to masters over apprentices, and to 
husbands over wives. Now, while we freely admit 
that there were in the South, instances of criminal 
barbarity in corporal punishments, they were very in- 
frequent, and were sternly reprobated by publick opin- 
ion. So far were Southern plantations from being 
" lash-resounding dens," the whipping of adult men and 
women had become the rare exception. It was far less 
frequent and severe than the wliipping of white men 
was, a few years ago, in the British army and navy, not 
probably more frequent than the whipping of wives is 
in the Northern States of America, and not nearly so 
frequent as the whipping of white young ladies now 
is in their State schools. The girls and boys of the 
plantations received the lash from masters and agents ^ 
more frequently than the adults, as was necessary and 
right for the heedless children of mothers semi-civilized 
and neglectful; but universally, this punishment by 
their owners was far less frequent and severe than the 
black parents themselves inflicted. We may be per- 
mitted to state our own experience as a fair specimen 
of the average. The writer was for eighteen years a 
householder and master of slaves, having the govern- ^-"^ 
ment of a number of different slaves ; and in that time 
he found it necessary to administer the lash to adults in 
four cases; and two of these were for a flagrant adul- 



222 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tery— (resulting in the permanent reform of at least one 
of the delinquents.) His government was regarded by 
his slaveholding neighbours as by no means relaxed. 
Indeed, Europeans and Yankees are always surprised at 
the leniency and tolerance of Southern masters. But to 
the vain modern notion, that corporal punishments are 
in any case barbarous and degrading, we give place not 
for an instant. God enjoined them, in appropriate cases, 
on Hebrew citizens. Solomon inculcates the rod as the 
most wholesome correction for children. The degrada- 
tion is in the offence, and not in the punishment. This 
pretended exclusion of whipping is a part of that God- 
less humanitarianism, loovn of conceit and pride, which 
always shows itself as full of real ferocity as of affected 
mildness. 

It is also an outrageous misrepresentation to say 
that our laws imposed no check upon the master's bru- 
tality in punishing, and took away the slave's natural 
right of self-defence. The slave whose life was as- 
sailed might exercise the natural right of self-defence, 
even against liis own master. He did it, of course, imder 
the same responsibility to the law, and the same risque 
of guilt, if it should appear that he had shed blood gra- 
tuitously in a moment of ill-justified passion, under which 
the white man acts. Cases actually adjudicated have 

clearly ascertained this principle. In the county of ,* 

a slave, in the year 1861, turned upon his master during 
harvest, and with his scythe inflicted a mortal wound. 
He was arrested by his own fellow-slaves, and when 

* Names and places are suppressed in this pnblick statement, for 
obvious reasons of regard for meritorious sui'vivors. But ttie official 
records are at band, and will be furnished any gainsayer. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 22S 

questioned, replied to one, " I intended to kill him ;" 
and to anothei-, " I tried to cut him in two." It was 
proved by the defence, at his trial, (through the exclu- 
sive testimony of blacks,) that his master had, on pre- 
vious days, and also on the morning' of the same day, 
two hours previously, harassed him with barbarous and 
unusual punishments, by which, although none of them 
even in appearance assailed life, a just sense of outrage 
and higli indignation must have been produced. The 
grave defect of this defence was, that- the assaults of thd 
master, although barbarous, never had implicated life, 
. and that two or more hours had intervened, for the cool- 
ing of passion. The only immediate provocation at the 
time of killing was the repetition of some words of re- 
buke, with a comparatively slight chastisement. Such 
was the case. The court decided that, on the one hand, a 
verdict of justifiable homicide could not be given in the 
slave's favour, because the lawful present provocation 
was absent ; but on the other, that it was not murder, be- 
cause the barbarities which had preceded the act justi- 
fied resentment. The crime was therefore ascertained 
as a mitigated homicide, with a milder punishment. 

The laws of "^rgiuia protected not only the life, but 
the limb of the slave against white persons, and even 
his own master. The statute against wounding, stab- 
bing and maiming is in the following words : *" If any 
free person maliciously shoot, stab, cut or wound any 
2)erson, or by any means cause him bodily injury 
with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, he shall, 
except where it is otherwise provided, be punished by 

* Code of 1849, Ch. 191, § 9. Edit. 1860, p. 784 ' 



224 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

confinement in the penitentiary not less than one, nor 
more than ten years. If such act be done unlawfully, 
but not maliciously, with the intent aforesaid, the of- 
fender shall, at the discretion of the jury if the accused 
be white, or of the court if he be a negro, either be con- 
fined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more 
than five years, or be confined in jail not exceeding 
twelve months, and fined not exceeding five hundred 
dollars." And in the chapter on trials it is added : 
*" And on any indictment for maliciously shooting, 
stabbing, cutting or wounding a person, or by any 
means causing him bodily injury yith intent to kill 
him, the jury may find the accused not guilty of the of- 
fence charged, but guilty of maliciously doing such 
act with intent to maim, disfigure or disable, or of un- 
lawfully doing it, with intent to maim, disfigure, dis- 
able or kill, such person." These are but digests of 
repeated older statutes of Virginia, of date 1803, 1815, 
and 1819. Now the General Court, the highest tribu- 
nal of appeal in criminal cases, fdecided that the "any 
person," protected by these laws, included the slave ; 
and that an indictment for the malicious stabbing of a 
slave could bo supported under th^fee acts. Thus, 
while the slave was required to accept the chastise- 
ment of his master, his life and limb were as fully pro- 
tected as those of the'white man. 

The General Court, J in 1851, decided the appeal of 
Simeon Souther, convicted in the County of Hanover of 

* Code of 1849, Cli. 208, § 30. 

+ Chappie's case, I. Virginia cases, 184 Carver's case, 5th Ran- 
dolph's Rep., 660. 
X 7th G rattan, 673, etc. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 225 

murder in the second degree, because his slave Sam 
had, according to evidence, died under an excessive 
and barbarous whipping^ with other punishments, the 
whole evidently not intended»to kill. Souther's coun- 
sel appealed from this sentence to the General Court, 
asking that the grade of the offence be reduced to man- 
slaughter only, because it appeared in evidence that 
the punishments were not inflicted with intent to kill. 
The court, after reprobating Souther's conduct as a 
" case of atrocious and wicked cruelty," instead of re- 
ducing the grade of the sentence already ascertained, 
decided that it was already too low; and that it should 
have been declared murder in the first degree. This 
tribunal granted that it is lawful for the master to 
chastise his slave ; and that the law, as expounded by 
the same authority, (5th Randolph, 678,) did not sus- 
tain an indictment of the master on the mere allegation 
of excess in chastisement, where it was not charged* 
that any unlawful maiming or other injury ensued. Be- 
cause " it is the policy of the law in respect to the rela- 
tion of master and slave, and for the sake of securing 
proper subordination and obedience on the part of the 
slave, to protect the master from prosecution in all 
such cases." .... " But in so inflict- 
ing punishment for the sake of punishment, the owner 
of the slave acts at his peril ; and if death ensues in 
consequence of such punishment, the relation of master 
and slave affords no ground of excuse or palliation. 
The principles of the common law in relation to homi- 
cide apply to his case, without qualification or excep- 
tion ; and according to those principles, the act of the 
prisoner, in the case under consideration, amounted to 

10* 



226 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

murder. Upon this point we are unanimous." And 
Souther, although a man of property, and supported by 
the most active and able counsel, was committed to the 
penitentiary, (in pursuance of the original sentence, of 
murder in the second degree,) where he died. Such 
was the law and its administration in Virginia. 

It may further be asserted that the laws were' at 
least as well administered among us, against the mur- 
dei-ers and oppressors of slaves, as against those who 
killed their equals. Our people had unfortunately im- 
bibed, to some degree, the infidel and fanatical notions 
prevalent at the North against capital punishments ; 
so that crimes of bloodshed met with more tolerance 
from publick sentiment than was proper. But when a 
master took the life of his servant, especially if it were 
done by cruel punishments, the publick scorn for his 
meanness and tyranny, and the general feeling of kind- 
liness for our dependent fellow-creatures, were apt to 
secure a far more faithful execution of the law against 
him, than if he had slain his white peer for any insult 
or wrong. 

The laws of Virginia were equally just and careful 
in protecting the liberty of every person not justly held 
to bondage. The stealing or kidnapping of any human 
being with the purpose of selling him into slavery, is a 
felony, punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary 
not less than three, nor more than ten years. * 

Any coloured person whatsoever, conceiving himself 
to be unlawfully detained in bondage, may apply to any 

* Code of Va., 1849, Chap. 191, § 17. The same may be found at its 
appropriate place in the Code of 1860, which is little more than a 
reprint of the Code of 1819. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 227 " 

justice of the peace, or county or circuit superior court, 
to enter a suit for his freedom. There is not, within 
the lids of the Virginian code, another statute, so gen- 
erous, so careful, so tender, so watchful, in protecting 
every possible right of a plaintiff, as this law enabling 
the slave, unjustly detained, to sue out his freedom. 
First, it compels every magistrate, of every grade, and 
evei'y court, of every grade, to hearken to the cry of the 
supposed oppressed man, and to take effectual steps to 
secure him release, if just. Next, it instantly takes the 
claimant out of the hand of his nominal master, and 
assigns him protection and maintenance, during the 
pendency of his claim. Next, it provides counsel, and 
all costs of suit for the oppressed man, at publick 
expense. Next, it orders that his case shall have pre- 
cedence of all other cases, before whatever court he 
may select, at its first sessions, irrespective of its place 
on the docket. And last, if the claim to freedom be 
found just, the court is empowered to give him damages 
for his detention pending the suit.* 

Another charge against us is, that our laws abrogated 
the rights of marriage among slaves, authorized their 
capricious separation by masters, and thus consigned 
them to promiscuous concubinage, like that of beasts. 
Now, first, admitting defect in our legislation here, let 
us ask, how much of the blame of the continuance of 
this defect is chargeable upon the frantic attacks of 
abolitionists upon us ? Every sensible man can under- 
stand, that a people so fiercely assailed in ■ their vital 
rights should be occupied solely by righteous defence, 

* Code of Va., 1S49, Chap. 106. 



228 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and should feel the time unsuited for the discussion of 
innovations, however needful. And next, let it be 
understood what the South has really done, and has not 
done, herein, and it will appear that an amazing mis- 
representation is made of the whole case. The form of 
the charge usually is, that our laws deprived the slaves 
of all marital rights. This is, first, a monstrous per- 
version of the facts, in that the Africans never had any 
marital rights or domestic institutions to be deprived of. 
Have men forgotten, that in their native country there 
was no marriage, and no marrtage law, but the negroes 
either lived in vagrant concubinage, or held their plural- 
ity of wives as slaves, to be either sold or slain at will ? 
They have, at least, lost nothing, then ; and the utmost 
that could be charged upon our legislation is, that it did 
not undertake to innovate upon their own native usages; 
that it did not force upon them marital restraints, 
and penalties for their breach, which the Africans 
were disqualified cither to understand or value, which 
they would have regarded as a more cruel burden than 
their bondage. Next, our laws did not, as many seem 
to represent, prohibit, or delegalize the marriage of 
slaves ; but were simply silent about them. The mean- 
ing of this silence was, to leave the whole matter to the 
controul of the master. It appears almost impossible 
for anti-slavery men to be made to apprehend the 
nature of the institution, as described in the words, 
'domestic slavery.' Their minds, perverted with vain 
dreams of the powers and perfectibility of the State, 
cannot be made to apprehend that God has made other 
parties than the commonwealth and the civil magis- 
trate, depositories of ruling power ; and that this 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 229 

arrangement is right and benevolent. Now, it is the 
genius of slavery, to make the family the slave's com- 
monwealth. The family is his State. The master is his 
magistrate and legislator, in all save certain of the 
graver criminal relations, in which the commonwealth 
deals directly and personally with him. He is a mem- 
ber of municipal society only through his master, who 
represents him. The commonwealth knows him as only 
a life-long minor under the master's tutelage. The 
integers of which the commonwealth aggregate is made 
up, are not single human beings, but single families, 
authoritatively represented in the father and master. 
And this is the fundamental difference between the 
theory of the Bible, and that of radical democracy. The 
silence of our laws, theh, con,cerning the marriage of 
slaves, means precisely this : that the whole subject is 
remitted to the master, the chief magistrate of the little 
integral commonwealth, the family. Obviously, there- 
fore, the question whether our laws were defective 
therein, is in no sense a question between the living of 
the slaves in marriage or in beastly license ; it is only 
a question whether, in the distribution of ruling func- 
tions, those of the master were not made too large and 
responsible, herein. And if error be admitted in this 
respect, it cannot be one which makes the relation of 
servitude sinful ; for then the same crime must be fixed 
on all the patriarchs, notwithstanding their care in 
rightly ordering and preserving, as family heads, the 
marital relations of their children and slaves, because, 
forsooth, there happened to be no commonwealth law 
above them, as patriarchs, regulative of these marriages. 
This is nonsense. Where the modern patriarch, the 



230 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Southern master, rightly ordered and protected the 
J marriage relations of his slaves, the silence of the 
commonwealth no more made their connexions concu- 
binage, than were those of Isaac, and of Abraham's 
steward, Eliezer of Damascus. What magistrate or 
legislature, other than Abraham, issued their marriage 
license? Who else enforced their marriage law or 
defined its rights ? What civic agent solemnized the 
ceremonial for them ? And this leads to another remark : 
that that ceremonial is wholly unessential to the validity 
of marriage. Of course, where the laws enjoin it for 
any class, every good citizen will observe it. But the 
absence of such ordained ceremonial does not make 
lawful rnarriage impossible. In this sense, consensus 
facil nnptias. It was thus that* the holiest wedlock ever 
seen on earth was instituted, that of Adam and Eve ; 
thus Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, wex-e 
united. The fact that our laws pronounce the unions 
of Quakers and of Jews, legitimate marriage, although 
announced with different forms, and indeed almost 
without form, evinces this truth. 

Now, then, for the facts. These facts are, that mar- 
riage in its substance was as much recognized among 
V our servants as among any other peasantry; that the 
union was uniformly instituted upon a formal written 
license of the two masters ; that it was almost always 
sanctioned by a religious ceremonial conducted by a 
minister ; that the regularity of the connexion was 
uniformly recognized by the master's assigning the 
husband and wife their own dwelling ; that the moral 
opinion of both whites and blacks made precisely the 
same distinction between this connexion and the illicit 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 231 

ones, and between the fruits of it as legitimate, and 
the fruits of concubinage as illegitimate, which publick 
opinion establishes for white pei'sons : and that even ^ 
the criminal law i-ecognized it as a regular connexion, 
by extending to the black man who slew the violator of 
his bed in heat of blood, the same forbearance which it 
extends to the outraged husband. How can it be said, 
in the face of these facts, that marriage did not exist 
among them ? 

But, it is asked, did not the master possess power to 
separate this union at his will; and was not this power 
often exercised ? They did. The power, relatively, 
was not often exercised ; and when the separation was y^ 
not justified by the crimes of the parties, it met the 
steady and increasing reprobation of publick opinion. 
The instances of tyrannical separation were, at most, 
far fewer than the harsh tyranny of destitution imposes 
on poor whites in all other countries ; and the pre- 
tended philanthropy of the Yankees has, in five years, 
torn asunder more families than all the slave dealers 
of the South did in a hundred. But the power of sepa- 
rating was sometimes abused by masters ; and the 
room for this abuse w^as just the defect in our laws, ^ 
which nearly all Southern Christians deplored, and 
which they desired to repair. Justice requires the tes- 
timony, on the other hand, that the relaxed morals 
which prevailed among the Africans was not the result 
of their marital relations, as arranged among us, but 
the heritage of their paganism ; that under our system t^ 
the evil was decreasing ; and that since their emanci- 
pation and nominal subjection to the marriage law of 
the whites, a flood of licentiousness, vagrant concii- 



233 A DEFE^rcE of Virginia. 

binage, and infanticide, has broken out again among 
them. Clear proof this, that our abused system was 
better adapted to their character than the prese^^t. 

Anti-slavery men often talk as though the right of 
slave parents to the controul and education of their 
children, were so indefeasible and native, that it is a 
natural wrong to permit the authority of the master 
over them to override that of the parents. This we 
utterly deny. We have the authority of Locke him- 
self for saying that the parental authority is correla- 
tive to the parental obligation to preserve and train 
the child ; that it is, therefore, not indefeasible ; that 
if the father is clearly incompetent to or unwilling for 
his duty, his authority often is, and of right ought to 
be, transferred by society to another. When, there- 
fore, the civilized master uses his authority against 
and over that of the semi-civilized, or savage parent, 
to train the slave child to habits of decency, industry, 
intelligence, and virtue, which his degraded natural 
guardians are unable or unwilling to inculcate, he 
does no crime against nature, but an act just and 
beneficent. 

The most odious part of this charge is, that slavery 
made the chastity of the female slave the property of 
her master. We meet this with an emphatic denial. 
It is false. The laws of Virginia protect the virtue of 
the female slave by the very same statute which shields 
that of the white lady, even against her own master. 
The law of rape, until 1849, used these words: *"If 
any man do ravish a wovian," &c. The act of 1849 used 

*Code, 1819, p. 585, Ch. 158. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 233 

the words : * " If any white person do carnally know 
a female 0^ the age of twelve years or more, against 
her will, by force, or carnally know a female child, un- 
der that age," &c. (If the ravisher were a negro the 
penalty was different.) The question is, whether the 
words "a woman," and " a female," were intended to 
include coloured persons and slaves. The answer uni- 
formly given by Virginian lawyers to this question is 
affirmative. They say that the terms are the most 
general in our statutory vocabulary. The law of 1849, 
just quoted, clearly implies that the terms " a female," 
in § 15, are inclusive of coloured females, by expressly 
introducing the word "white," "a white female," in 
§ 16, when its purpose was to enact a special penalty 
for the forcible abduction of that class. The General 
Court has held thai female is synonymous with ivoman,-\- 
and may be substituted for it even in an indictment. 
Is it asked, why the appeal is not made to judicial de- 
cisions, as conclusive authority of the true intent of 
the statute ? We have caused a thorough search to be 
made by the most competent authority in Richmond ; 
and while many indictments . are found against black 
men for rape of white women, none exist, in the history 
of -eur jurisprudence, against white men for rape of 
black women. And this, not because there would have 
been any difficulty in making the indictment lie : but 
because, as the most experienced lawyers testify, the 
crime is unheard of on the part of ivhile men amongst us. 
It is undoubtedly true, that the moral sense of the 

*Code, 1S49, p. 735, Ch. 191, § 15. 

+ Burnett's case, 3 Va. cases, 235. And this Avas an indictment 
for rape. 



234 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Africans on this subject is low: that many voluntary 
breaches of chastity occur among themselves, and 
some between them and whites. But the latter are far 
less frequent than similar sins in Philadelphia, in 
Boston, in London. Notwithstanding the sad inherit- 
ance of vice drawn by the Africans from their pagan 
ancestors, Southern slavery had elevated them so faf, 
that illegitimate births among them had become far 
fewer than among the boasted white peasantry of Prot- 
estant Scotland, with all its Bibles and churches, and 
parochial schools. This fact can be proved by Scotch 
statistics. The odious and filthy charge which the 
abolitionists make against the Southern people and 
against slavery, as a system of lust, also receives a 
terrible reply from the returns of the American census. 
When illicit cohabitation takes place between the 
whites and the blacks, nature tells the secret with in- 
fallible accuracy, in the yellow skin of the offspring. 
The census of 1850 distinguished the full blacks from 
the mulattoes, both among the slave and free. Of the 
slaves, one in twelve was mulatto, taking the whole 
United States together. Of the slaves in Virginia the 
ratio of mulattoes to blacks was about the same. In 
South Carolina there was only one mulatto to thirtj'-- 
one black slaves ! The explanation is, that the latter 
State, being less commercial and manufacturing than' 
Virginia, and having a system of more perfect agricul- 
tural slavery, exposed her slaves less to intercourse 
with immigrant and transient whites. But taking the 
United States as a whole, the free mulattoes were more 
than half as numerous as the free blacks ! In several 
of the slave States they are more numerous ; and in 



THE, ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 225 

Ohio, the stronghold of Black Republicanism, there 
were fourteen thousand mulattoes to eleven thousand 
blacks. Since the regular marriage of free blacks to 
the whites was as unknown at the North as at the 
South, these figures tell a tale as to the comparative 
prevalence of this infamous and unnatural form of un- 
cleanness among the Yankees, which should forever 
seal their lips from reproaches of us. They also show 
that at the South the state of slavery has been far 
more favourable to chastity among the coloured people 
than that of freedom. 

The reader probably feels by this time, that if we 
speak truth, then was slavery a very different thing 
practically from its usual picture abroad. He will per- 
haps feel with a shade of skepticism, that it is strange 
the world should have been so much mistaken. The 
chief explanation we offer of so strange a fact, is that 
trait of abolitionists, our interested and unscrupulous 
accusers, predicted by St. Paul: ("men of corrupt 
minds and destitute of the truth.") The world will 
find them out in due time : the statements made of the 
events of the late war have done much to unmask them. 
Still another cause is that Europeans, and even 
Yankees, are so ignorant of Southern society. StilL 
another explanation is, that slavery in the British col- 
onies, from which the people of that Empire have chiefly 
derived their conceptions, actually was far -more harsh 
and barbarous than in this country. The reader is em- 
phatically cautioned that he must not judge slavery in 
Virginia by slavery in Jamaica or Guiana. Whether 
the charge of the great Paley is correct, who accounts 
for this difference by the greater harshness of British 



^ 



236 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

character,* politeness may forbid us to decide. But 
the comparative fates of the Africans in the British col- 
onies, and those in our States, tell the contrast between 
the humanity of our system, and the barbarity of theirs, 
in terms of indisputable clearness. If political science 
has ascertained any law, it is that the well or ill-being 
of a people powerfully affects their increase or decrease 
of numbers. The climate of the British Indies is salu- 
brious for blacks. Yet, of the one million seven hun- 
dred thousand Africans imported into the British col- 
onies, and their increase, only six hundred and sixty 
thousand remained to be emancipated in 1832. The 
three hundred and seventy-five thousand (the total) im- 
ported into the Southern States, had multiplied to four 
millions. Such is the contrast ! How grinding and 
ruthless must have been that oppression which in the 
one case reduced this prolific race, in the most fertile and 
genial spots of earth, in the ratio of five to two ! And 
how generous and beneficent that government which, 
in the Southern States, nursed them to a more than ten- 
fold increase, in a less hospitable and fruitful clime I 
Well may we demur to have the world take its concep- 
tions of our slavery from the British. 

We trust that we shall proceed, then, to the remain- 
ing discussion of the moral character of slavery, with a 
just understanding of what is to be defended. It is 
simply that system which makes the involuntary labour 
of the servant the property of the master, and gives the 
latter such controul over the former's person, as will 

* Moral Philosophy, Bk. 3, p. 2, Ch. 3: "The inordinate authority 
■\vhicli tlie plantation laws confer upon the slaveholder, is exercised 
by the English slaveholder, especially, with rigour and brutality." 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 237 

secure his possessiori of the labour. We conclude this 
section with a few words touching the admitted abuses 
of the system. Thaf such existed among us, both legis- 
lative and individual, is fully admitted. There were 
cruel masters. Slaves were sometimes refused that 
which the apostle enjoined masters to give them, as 
"just and equal." Som^ cruel punishments were in- 
flicted. A few slaves have been tortured to death. 
Some wives and children were wickedly torn from their 
husbands and parents. And our laws in some points 
failed to secure to the slaves that to which their human- 
ity entitled them. But we repeat, these things prove 
only the sinfulness of the individual agent, and not of 
the system of which they are incidents. Fathers have 
been known to maltreat, scourge, maim and murder 
their children ; and husbands their wives ; but «io one 
dreams that these things evince the unrighteousness of 
the family relations. Wife-murder is doubtless more 
frequent in the State of New York, than slave-murder 
was in Virginia. The laws of the State of Indiana 
concerning divorce are, in some particulars, glaring 
violations of God's laws. Yet no one dreams of arguing 
thence, that to have a wife in those States is a sin. 
Unless the abuse can be shown to be an essential part 
of the system, it proves nothing against the lawfulness 
of the system itself. But that none of these crimes 
against slaves are essential parts of slavery, is proved 
by the fact, which we fearlessly declare, that the vast 
majority of slaves in our country never experienced 
any of them. The unfairness of this mode of arguing 
cannot be better stated than in the words of Dr. Van 
Dyke, of New York: 



238 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

"Their mode of arguing the question of slaveholding, 
by a pretended appeal to facts, is a tissue of misrepre- 
sentation from beginning to end.* Let me illustrate 
my meaning by a parallel case. Suppose I undertake 
to prove the wickedness of marriage, as it exists in 
the city of New York. In this discussion suppose the 
Bible is excluded, or, at least, Jliat it is not recognized 
as having exclusive jurisdiction in the decision of the 
* question. My first appeal is to the statute law of the 
State. 

" I show there enactments which nullify the law of 
vl God, and make divorce a marketable and cheap com- 
modity. I collect the advertisements of your daily 
papers, in which lawyers offer to procure the legal 
separation of man and wife for a stipulated price, to 
say noihing, in this sacred place, of other advertise- 
ments which decency forbids me to quote. Then I 
turn to the records of our criminal courts, and find 
that every day some cruel husband beats his wife, or 
some imnatural parent murders his child, or some dis- 
contented wife or husband seeks the dissolution of the 
marriage bond. In the next place, I turn to the or- 
phan asylums and hospitals, and show there the miser- 
able wrecks of domestic tyranny in wives deserted and 
children maimed by drunken parents. In the last 
place, I go through our streets, and into our tenement 
houses, and count the thousands of ragged children, 
who, amid ignorance and filth, are training for the 
prison and gallows. 

" Summing all these facts together, I put them forth 
as the fruits of marriage in the city of New York, and 
a proof that the relation itself is sinful. If I were a 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 239 

novelist, and had written a book to illustrate this* same 
doctrine, I would call this array of facts a ' Key.' In 
this key I say nothing about the sweet charities and 
ailections that flourish in ten thousand homes, not a 
word about the multitude of loving-kindnesses that 
characterize the daily life of honest people, about the 
instruction and discipline that arc training children at 
ten thousand firesides for usefulness here and glory 
hereafter ; — all this I ignore, and quote only the statute 
book, the newspapers, the records of criminal courts, 
and the miseries of the abodes of poverty. Now, what 
have I done ? I have not misstated or exaggerated a 
single fact. And yet am I not a falsifier and a slan- 
derer of the deepest dye ? Is there a virtuous woman 
or an honest man in this city wliose cheeks would not 
burn with indignation at my one-sided and injurious 
statements? But this is just what abolitionism has 
doncf in regard to slaveholding. It has undertaken to 
illustrate its cardinal doctrine in works of fiction ; 
and then, to sustain the creation of its fancy, has at- 
tempted to underpin it with an accumulatfon of facts. 
These facts are collected in precisely the way I have 
described. The statute books of slaveholding States 
are searched, and every wrong enactment collated, 
newspaper reports of cruelty and crime on the part of 
wicked masters are treasured up and classified, all the 
outrages that have been perpetrated 'by lewd fellows 
of the baser sort'— of whom there are plenty, both 
North and South— are eagerly seized and recorded; 
and this mass of vileness and filth, collected from the 
kennels and sewers of society, is put forth as a faithful 
exhibition of slaveholding. Senators in the forum, and 



240 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

minisfers in the pulpit, distil this raw material into 
the more refined slander * that Southern society is es- 
sentially barbarous, and that slaveholding had its 
origin in hell.'" 

Such are the words of one who is himself no advo- 
cate of slavery, but who is moved to utter them solely 
b'y his regard for truth. His reprobation is just. To 
take the exceptional abuses of any institution, and 
exhibit them as giving the ordinary state of society 
under it, is the very essence of slander. 

But the enemies of the South say, that still the sys- 
tem of slavery is unrighteous, even though the gen- 
erosity of a majority of masters prevents its oppressions 
from being felt, because it confers a power which is 
irresponsible. We reply, that this is true, although to 
a vastly less degree than has been charged ; but it is 
also true of every form of authority under heaven ; 
and it is simply impossible to place authority in any 
human hands at all, without some degree of this risque 
of irresponsible abuse. The authority of the master is 
no more irresponsible than that of the husband, father, 
or mechanic, over his wife, child, or apprentice. The 
father, in order to have authority, must have discre- 
tion : and he may abuse it : for he is imperfect ; and 
against this abuse the child has no legal remedy. For 
this imperfection in the family law there is no help, save 
by abolishing all family government; a remedy fraught 
with ten thousand times the mischief and misery which 
all the occasional severities of unnatural parents have 
caused. All human government must have this defect, 
for man, who administers it, is a sinner. So that the 
objection of the abolitionist amounts to this : that the 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 241 

institution of slavery is unlawful, because it is not per- 
fect ; which nothing human can be. It is so true that 
any grant of power whatsoever confers some irrespon- 
sibility; that the fact remains even where the rights of 
free citizens are most carefully guarded under i-epubli- 
can governments. See, for example, the courts of law, 
which judge concerning our lives and property. We 
attempt to limit the abuse of power of the lower courts, 
by passing their decisions in review before a higher ; 
but there must be some highest, beyond which no ap- 
peal can go. Yet the judges of that highest court arc 
also capable of wrong and error ; and if they commit 
them, the victim has no human help ; he must submit. 
All that just and humane legislation can do, then, is so 
to adjust and limit powers, that the chances of uncom- 
pensated wrong may be as small as possible. Now wc 
shall see that in this case of employer and labourei", 
such as they are in Virginia, the chances of unre- 
dressed wrong were reduced to their ininimwni by our 
system of domestic slavery. For we thereby raised 
the most efficient motives, those of self-interest and 
affection, in the stronger party, to treat the weaker equi- 
tably. If the irresponsibility of a part of the master's 
power proved the relation sinful, all government would 
be wrong. 

§ 3. The Rights of Man and Slavery. 

The radical objection to the righteousness of slavery 
in most minds is, that it violates the natural liberty 
and equality of man. To clear this matter, it is ouv 
purpose to test the common theory held as to the 
rights of nature, and to show that this ground of oppo- 

II 



242 A DEFENCE OP VIRGINIA. 

sition to slavery rests upon a radical and disorganizing 
/ scheme of human rights, is but Jacobinism in dis- 
guise, and involves a denial of all authority whatso- 
ever. .. The popular theory of man's natural rights, of 
the origin of governments, and of the moral obligation 
of allegiance, is that which traces them to a social 
contract. The true origin of this theory may be found 
with Hobbes of Malmesbury. It owes its respectability 
among Englishmen, chiefly to the pious John Locke, a 
sort of baptized image of that atheistic philosopher ;* 
and it was ardently held by the infidel de.mocrats of 
the first French revolution. According to this scheme, 
each person is by nature an independent integer, 
wholly suijur'is, absolutely equal to every other man, 
and naturally entitled, as a "Lord of Creation," to ex- 
ercise his whole will. Man's natural liberty was ac- 
cordingly defined as privilege to do xvhatever he ivished. 
True, Locke attempts to limit this monstrous postulate 
by defining man's native liberty as privilege to do 
whatever he wished within the limits of the law of na- 
ture. But this virtually returns to the same ; because 
he teaches that man is by nature absolutely independ- 
ent, so that he must be himself the supreme, original 
judge, what this law of nature is. Accordhig to the 
doctrine of the social contract, man's natural rights are 



* Notwithstanding Locke's amiable and pious spirit, tlie history of 
philosophic opinion has shown that he is but a disguised follower of 
the philosopher of Malmesburj'. His psychology is but a system of 
sensationalism, and his ethics lead to the denial of original moral 
distinctions. Locke is chargeable with the germs of all the mis- 
chievous and atheistical doctrines developed by Hume in Great 
Britain, and Cordillac in France. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 243 

confounded with this so-called natural liberty. Each 
man's natural right is to protect his own existence, and 
to possess himself of whatever will render it more 
happy, (Locke again adds, within the limits of i»tural 
law.) And this scheme most essentially ignored the 
originality of moral distinctions. Hobbes explains 
them as the conventional results of the rules which 
man's experience and convenience have dictated to him. 
For, the experience of the mutual violences and col- 
lisions of so many independent wills, in this supposed 
"state of nature," induced men, in time, to consent to 
the surrender of a part of this native independence, in 
order to secure the remainder of their rights. To do 
this, they are supposed to have conferred together, and 
to have formed a compact with each other, binding 
themselves to each other to submit to certain stipulated 
niles, which restrained a part of their natural liberty, 
and to obey certain men selected to govern. The power 
thus delegated to these hands was to be used to protect 
the remaining rights of all. The terms of this compact 
form the organic law, or constitution. Subsequent citi- 
zens entering the commonwealth by birth or immi- 
gi'ation, are assumed to have given an assent, express 
or implied, to this compact. And if the question be 
asked, why men are morally bound to obey magis- 
trates, who naturally are their equals and fellows, the 
answer of this school is : because they have voluntarily 
bargained to do so in entering the social compact; and 
they receive a quid pro quo for their accession to it. 
Such is the theory of the origin of government, from 
which the natural injustice of slavery is deduced. 
For, obviously, if man's obligation to civil society 



244 A DEFENCE OF VIEGINIA. 

originates in the voluntcary social contract of inde- 
pendent integers, none can be rightfully held to a com- 
pulsory obedience, which enters into all servitude, both 
domesffc and political. 

Some liberal writers, as Blackstone, and the great 
Swiss publicist, Burlemaqui, are too sensible not to see 
that this scheme is false to the facts of the case. But 
they still hold, that although individual men never, in 
fact, existed in the independent insulation supposed, 
and did not actually pass into a state of society by a 
formal social contract, yet such a transaction must be 
^ assumed as the implied and virtual source of political 
power and civic obligation. To us it appears, that if 
the contracting never occurred in fact, but is only a 
theoretical fiction, it is no basis for any thing, and no 
source of practical rights and duties. Civil society is 
a universal fact ; and its existence must be grounded 
in something actual. We object, then, to this dream of 
a social contract preceded by a native state of individ- 
ual independence, that it is false to the facts of the 
case. Human beings never rightfully existed, for one 
moment, in this state, out of which thej' are supposed 
to have passed by their own option. God never gave 
them such independency. Their responsibility to him, 
and to the civil society under which He has placed 
them, is as native as they arc, being ordained by God 
to exist from the first. Men do not choose civic obliga- 
•v' tion, but are born to it, just as the child to his filial 
obligation. And the simple, conclusive proof is, that if 
any man were to claim this native option to assume or 
to decline civic obligations, (in the latter case relin- 
quishing also their advantages,) there is not a govern- 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 245 

ment on earth, not the most liberal, that would not 
laugh his claim to scorn, and at once compel his alle- 
giance. The very assumption of what this theory calls 
man's normal state, and the very attempt to exercise 
the option which, as it babbles, originated civil society, 
would constitute a man an outlaw, the radical enemy 
of civic society, and would give it a natural right, tliat 
of self-preservation, to destroy him. The scheme is not 
only fictitious, but absurd. 

Second : AVe object that it is atheistic, utterly ignor- 
ing the existence of a Creator, and his relations to, and 
proprietorship in, man. It affects to treat men as though 
their existence were underived, and independent of any 
Supreme Being. It boldly discards God's right to de- 
termine under what obligations man shall live, and 
quietly contemns the great Scriptural fact that He has 
determined man shall live under social law. 

Third : This scheme is thoroughly unphilosophical, in 
that whereas the science of government should be an 
inductive one, this theory is, and in its nature must be, 
purely hypothetical. No body, no history pretends to 
relate in a single instance, any such facts as it profess- 
es to rest upon. This Locke admits, and even claims, 
absurdly seeking in this iQode to evade this vital ob- 
jection. Hence we assert that it has no claims to be 
entertained in foro scientice, even for discussion. 

Fourth : If man at first possessed that natural liberty, 
and passed from it under the obligation of constitutions 
and laws by a social contract, then sundry most incon- 
venient and preposterous consequences must logically 
follow. One of these is, that when once men had es- 
tablished their constitution, (in other words, their com- 



246 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

pact,) so long as its terms were observed by the magis- 
trates and the minority, the majority could never right- 
eously change it, no matter how inconvenient, or even 
ruinous, new circumstances might have made it, against 
the will of the minority or of the rulers. For when one 
has made a voluntary bargain, subsequent inconveni- 
ences of it do not justify its breach. The just man is 
one who changeth not, though he "sweareth to his own 
hurt." Another consequence would be, that it could 
never be settled what were the terms agreed upon in 
the original compact, and what part of existing laws 
were the accretions of unwarranted power, except in 
the case of written constitutions. Few nations have 
such. But a far worse consequence would be, that if 
the duty of allegiance originated in such compact, then 
any one unconstitutional act of the rulers or- majority 
would dissolve it. For it is a covenant ; but a cove- 
nant broken by one party is broken for both. Now, who 
believes that a single unconstitutional act of the ruler 
voids the whole allegiance of the aggrieved citizen? 
Where would be the government which would not be 
plunged into anarchy? 

Last, all commonwealths have found it necessary to 
arm the magistrate with some powers, which individ- 
uals could not have conferred by a social compact, be- 
cause they never possessed them. One of these is the 
power of life and death. No man's life is his own : it 
belongs to God alone. One cannot bargain away what 
is not his own. Besides, it is absurd to represent men 
as bargaining away this tremendous power for some 
smaller advantages and securities ; because life is the 
most precious of all. " What shall a man accept in 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 247 

exchange for his life?" It is of no avail to say that the 
community is entitled, by the law of self-preservation, 
to assume this power ; because, on this theory, there is 
no community as yet. There is only a number of in- 
dependent integers, sovereignly treating with each 
other. The community cannot assume powers before 
it exists ! It is, if possible, still more difficult to ex- 
plain, on this theory, how political societies came by 
the power of capital punishment, against aliens who 
assail their members. But all governments hold aliens 
living among them, and invading enemies, subject to 
their capital penalties. How is this? The foreigner 
certainly has not assented to the social compact of this 
society ; for he claims to be alien, and to owe no alle- 
giance. His consent, the supposed fountain of all right 
over him, is utterly lacking. Once more, this theory 
draws a broad distinction between man's civil liberty 
as a subject of government, and his natural liberty. 
The latter it defines as privilege to do whatever the man 
pleases, within the limits of natural law as interpreted 
by himself. And his natural rights are just the same. 
Some of these he voluntarily surrenders to society, to 
secure tlie rest. All government, therefore, is not only 
of the nature of restraint ; it is essentially restraint 
iipon one's rights. The advocates of the theory distinct- 
ly represent government as of the nature of a natural 
evil and wrong, but adopted as an expedient against 
the worse evil, anarchy; and therefore the obligation 
to obey it has no higher source than expediency. But 
worse yet ; if there is any such thing as intrinsic mo- 
rality, government is an immoral restraint, for it is a 
restraint upon rights. Whatever good government may 



248 A DEFENCE OF VIEGINIA. 

bring us, it is of that species which St. Paul reprobates, 
as " doing evil that good may come." The great 
Hobbes was therefore perfectly consistent, in teaching 
that there is no original morality in acts, and that there 
was at first no such thing as right, distinct from might. 
Morals are factitious distinctions invented under civil 
society for expediency. Let the thoughtful reader con- 
sider how this monstrous conclusion uproots all obliga- 
tion, and order, and allegiance. No man can hold the 
theory of the origin of government in the social con- 
tract, unless he either holds, with Hobbes, this damna- 
ble error, or with some abolitionists, (who are thorough- 
ly consistent here,) that all government is immoral. 

But its advocates urge that it does give the correct 
origin of government, because they can point to specific 
rights, which must have been natural in the individual, 
but which we now find vested in the government. 
The instance they most cite, is that of self-defence. We 
accept it, and assert that it confirms our view. For, if 
the right of self-defence means privilege of forcible 
resistance to violence at the time it is offered, we utterly 
deny that it has been surrendered by the individual, or 
can be justly limited one iota by government. If it 
means the savage privilege of retaliation after the 
collision has passed away, which claims to make the 
angry defendant accuser, judge, jury, and executioner 
in his own case, we utterly deny that nature ever gave 
such right to any man. " Vengeance is mine : I will 
repay, saith the Lord." Another instance alleged, is 
when the citizen is restrained by society from certain 
acts, moral ^3er se : as selling his corn out of the country 
when there is dearth. Yet the good citizen obeys. The 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 249 

answer is, that if the restriction is not unjust, it is 
because there exists among the citizens such danger of 
suffering for corn, that the sending it out of the country 
would be a breach of the natural law of love and equity. 
Natural rights may change with circumstances, a simple 
truth often strangely forgotten on this subject. 

Now, it is from this vicious theory of human rights, 
that abolitionism sucks its whole life. The whole argu- 
ment is but this : no restraint of government on man's 
will can be righteous, which is forcible and involuntary, 
because the obligationof all just government originates 
in the option of the individuals governed, who are by 
nature sovereign. Before we indicate the relationship 
of this conclusion with its disorganizing brood of kin- 
dred, wo must pause to meet a question which arises. 
It is this : if this pet hypothesis is relinquished, on 
what basis shall we defend free government? Let us 
see if a better foundation for its blessings cannot be 
found. 

Political and ethical philosophers have been perpet- 
ually victims to the notion, that because theirs are 
natural sciences, as distinguished from revealed or theo- 
logical, therefore they must banish from them all refer- 
ence to God, his nature, his acts, and his will, and our 
relations to it. The true inference should be, only, that 
they must abstain from the introduction of those peculiar 
revealed facts, which belong to man as an object of 
redemption and subject of the .Church of Christ. If we 
are not atheists, the facts that God is, that our being 
proceeds from his act, that we are his property, are as 
truly natural as man and his attributes are. They 
should therefore be embraced as a part of the fa-cts of 
11* 



250 - A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the case, to be treated just as all other natural facts, 
save that these are the most rudimental of all. For, 
how can that treatment be truly scientific, which pro- 
ceeds upon a partial induction of the facts of the case, 
leaving out the most primary? It is this illusion which 
has led so many moralists to attempt the discussion of 
the nature and origin of moral distinctions, without 
introducing a Creator, or a divine will. Whereas, a 
true science accepts God as the first fact in ethics ; his 
attributes as the primary standard of the moral distinc- 
tion ; his will as the fountain of moral obligation. 
What wretched impotency and confusion has not this 
omission caused in ethical discussions 1 

In like manner, this impotent and infidel theory of 
government sets out, (as was consistent with its atheistic 
inventors,) without reference to the fact that man's 
existence, nature, and rights originated in the personal 
will of a Creator, without reference to original moral 
distinctions, or to original responsibilities to God, or to 
the moral quality of God's will towards man. It quietly 
ignores the fact that man's will, if he is the creature of 
an intelligent and moral personal Creator, never could, 
by any possibility, be his proper rule of acting. It_ 
passes over, in the insane pride of human perfectionism, 
the great fact that man is also a naturally depraved 
creature. It falsely supposes a state of nature, in which 
man's will made his right : whereas no being, save an 
eternal and self-existent God, has a right to exist in that 
state for one instant. But all these are facts of nature, 
belonging to the case, ascertainable by experience and 
reason. If, then, we would have a correct theory of 
natural rights, all of them must be embraced in our 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 251 

view. And the proper account of the matter is simply 
this : Inasmuch as man did not make himself, he enters * 

exiatence the subject of God. This subjection is not only v^ 
of force, but also of moral right. Moral distinctions are 
original, being eternally expressed in God's perfections, 
and sovereignly revealed to the creature in his pre- 
ceptive will ; which is, to man, the practical source and 
rule of obligation. This moral obligation is therefore 
as native as man is. The rudimental relations to his 
God and his fellows imposed on man are binding on him 
ah initio; not at all by force of any assent of his will, 
but merely by the rightful force of God's will : man's 
virtue is to conform his will freely to God's. This will 
also defines his rights ; by which we mean those things 
which other creatures are morally obliged to allow him 
to have and to do. Man, we repeat, enters existence ^ 
with these moral relations resting upon him. And 
among them, are his social relations to his fellows ; as 
is shown by the fact that he has a social nature. Now 
civil government is nothing more than the organization ^ 
of a part of these social relations. God's will and 
providence, then, as truly as his word, has placed man 
naturally under civil government. It is as natural as 
man is. Again : the rule of action imposed by just 
government is the moral rule. That is to say, an equi- 
table govei-nment enjoins on its members or subjects the 
doing of those things which are morally right, and the 
refraining from those things which are morally wrong. 

We trace civil government, then, not to any social ( 

contract, A- other human expediency, but to the will 
and providence of God, and to original moral obligation.* 
If asked, whence the obligation to obey the civil magis- 



252 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

trate who, personally, is but our fellow, we answer, 
from God's will, which is the source and measure of 
duty. Man's will is wayward and depraved. Hence 

^' practical authority to enforce this rule of right upon 
him must be lodged in some hands ; and since God 
does not rule statedly by miracle, it must be in human 
hands. Civil government is God's ordinance, and its 

^ obligations are those of original moral right. The 
advantage and convenience resulting illustrate and 
confirm, but do not originate, the obligation. This is 
the theory of government plainly taught by St. Paul 
(Rom. xiii. 1 to 7) and St. Peter (1 Ep. ii. 13 to 18.) 
For we are here told that the civil magistrate is God's 
minister, to uphold right and repress wrong; that obe- 
dience to him in this is not only of moral, but religious 
obligation ; and that he who resists this function dis- 
obeys God. 

What, then, is man's natural liberty ? We answer, 
^ that it is only privilege to do lohatever he has a moral 
right to do. Freedom to do whatever a man wills, is 
not a liberty, either natural or civil, but an unnatural 
license, a natural iniquity; man's will being naturally 
depraved. What then is man's civil liberty ? We reply, 
that under an equitable government, it is the same — 
the privilege to do whatever he has a moral right to do. 

"^ No government is perfectly equitable : none ai-e wholly 
unjust. Some withhold more, some fewer, of the citizen's 
moral rights. None withhold them all. Hence, under 
the most despotic government there are some rights left, 
and so, some liberty. A perfectly just government 
,• would be one which would allot to each citizen freedom 
to do all the things which he had a moral right to do, and 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 253 

nothing else. Such a government would not restrain 
the natural liberty of any citizen in any respect ; each 
nian's civil liberty would be identical with his natural. ' 
Government does not originate rights, neither can it 
justly take them away. But practically, it confirms, 
instead of impairing, our natural liberty ; because it 
secures us in the exercise of it. 

But the friends of liberal government may feel a lurk- 
ing suspicion ofthis plain statement ; because it is on 
a theory of pretended ' divine right' that- the arguments 
for legitimacy, passive obedience, and despotism repose. 
Let us, then, pause to inquire whether the true scheme 
looks in that direction. And we ask first : Whether it is 
not much more likely that tyrannical conclusions will be 
drawn from those principles which ignore God, the great 
standard of right, and original moral distinctions, which 
are the basis of all rights, and so of all liberty — from 
principles which make man's might his natural right ; 
rather than from our principles, which solidly found 
man's rights in eternal moral distinctions, and in the will 
of a just and benevolent God, the common Father, before 
whom rulers and ruled are equal ? And when we turn 
to the history of opinion, we see that while Locke illog- 
ically deduced from this theory of the social contract a 
scheme of liberal government, his greater master, Hobbes, 
inferred that the most complete despotism -^as the most 
consistent. • And both the French and the Yankee Jac- 
obins, deriving from it an impious deification of the 
will of the mob which happens to be the larger, as the 
supreme law, have reduced their theory to practice in the 
most violent, ruthless, and mischievous oppressions ever 



254 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

perpetrated on civilized communities. Let tlie tree be 
judged by its fruits. 

We repeat, tiiat the glory and strength of the Chris- 
tian theory of human government and liberty is this : 
that it founds man's rights on eternal moral distinctions. 
The liberty it grants each man is privilege of doing all 
those things which he, with his particular character 
and relations, is morally entitled to do. Privilege of 
doing all other things it retrenches ; for what would 
this be but sin ? Now the epitome of moral distinctions 
is, ' Love thy neighbour as thyself.' It is the same law 
expressed in the " Golden Rule." The meaning of this, 
as we saw, is, not that we must do to our fellow all that 
our caprice might desire, if our positions were inverted; 
but what we should believe ourselves morally entitled 
to require of him, in that case. Here, then, is the true 
basis of human equality. Men are all children of a 
common Father, brethren of the same race, each one 
entitled by the same right to his own apprdpriate share 
of well-being. Hence, by a single and conclusive step, 
as the foundation of civil government is moral, its proper 
object is the good of all, governors and governed. Gov- 
ernment is not for the behoof of rulers, but of the ruled 
also. Subjects were not made for kings, but kings for 
subjects. Indeed, rulers are themselves subjects, ow- 
ing allegiance to the universal law of right, and mem- 
bers of the brotherhood for whose common good this 
law reigns. In the sublime words of Samuel Ruther- 
ford, Bex, Lex. Neither Scriptures nor providence give 
to rulers any of that paternal right over the people, of 
which the legitiraatists prate. They neither have for 
their subjects the father's instinctive love, nor the fa- 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 255 

ther's natural superiority in virtue, experience, or pow- 
ers. The Scriptural governments over Israel were none 
of them legitimatist ; and that to which Paul, Petei:, .^, 
and Christ owned conscientious allegiance, the Empire 
of the Caesars, was not hereditary, and was a recent 
novelty. Again : while it is God's ordinance that men 
shall live under governments, no one form of govern- 
ment is ordained. " The powers that be are ordained 
of God." The one which, in His providence, actually 
subsists, is the legitimate one to the individual con- 
science. Still less has God indicated the individuals 
who shall govern as His agents. There is no, divine 
nomination of the particular person. Hence, as govern- 
ment is for the common good of all, the selection of '-^ 
these agents belongs to the common wisdom and recti- 
tude of the whole. And it is in this sense, (and only 
this,) that the Christian holds that the power of rulers 
is delegated from the ruled. In the higher sense, it is 
delegated from God, who is our true, rightful, and literal 
despot. The despotism of perfect, infinite rectitude is 
the most perfect freedom. 

Now it is clear, that the several rights of different 
individuals in the same society must differ exceedingly, 
because the persons differ indefinitely in powers, knowl- 
edge, virtue, and natural relations to each other. From 
that very law of love and equity, whence the moral 
equality of men was inferred, it 'must also follow, that 
one man is not morally entitled to pursue his natural 
well-being at the expense of that of other men, or of 
the society. Each one's right must be so pursued, as 
not to infringe others' rights. The well-being of all is 
inter-connected. Hence equity, yea, a true equality it- 



256 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

self, demands a varied distribution of social privilege 
among the members, according to their different char- 
iicters and relations. In other words, an equal govern- 
ment must confer very different degrees of power, and 
impose very different degrees of restraint, upon differ- 
ent classes of members. To attempt an identical and 
mechanical equality ; to confer on those who are incom- 
petent to use them, the same privileges granted to 
others who can and will use them rightfully, would be 
essential inequality ; for it would clothe the incompetent 
and undeserving with power to injure the deserving and 
capable, without real benefit to themselves. Hence, 
the civic liberties of all classes in the same society 
ought not to be the same. Thus, of the adult members, 
half are females, inexorably separated by sex, strength, 
social relations, and natural duties. Hence different 
civic rights are properly given to the male, in some 
respects ; not because it is right to empower' him to 
consume upon the promotion of his natural well-being 
that of his sister, but because, on the whole, the well- 
being of both sexes is thus most promoted. Whether 
this result does follow, must be a question of fact, to be 
decided by experience, if not settled in advance by God's 
Word. There is in the society another class of mem- 
bers, the children, who are not only different from, but 
inferior to, the adults, in knowledge, strength, expe- 
rience, and self-controul. Hence, it is equitable to with- 
hold from them still other privileges of the full citizen- 
ship. Again : the amount of privileges properly con- 
ceded to the body of citizens of the first class, should 
■vary in different commonwealths with their average 
character. If intelligence and virtue are, in thu aver- 



)/ 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 257 

age, more developed, the restraints of government should 
be fewer ; if less cultivated, more numerous. Different 
frames of government may be best for different commu- 
nities. 

Once more : If the society contains a class of adult 
members, so deficient m virtue and intelligence that i^ 
they would only abuse the fuller privileges of other citi- 
zens to their own and others' detriment, it is just to 
withhold so many of these privileges, and to impose so 
much restraint, as may be necessary for the highest 
equity to the whole body, inclusive of this subject class. 
And how much restraint is just, must be determined by 
facts and experience. Any degree of it is righteous, ,^ 
which is necessary to the righteous end. This is so ob- 
vious, that even abolitionists admit it, when they lose 
sight for the moment of their hobby. Of this Dr. Fran- 
cis Wayland, a prominent abolitionist, gives us a strik- 
ing instance in his " Moral Science." (Boston, 1838, p. 
351.) He says : " Whatever concessions on the part 
of the individual, and whatever powers on the part of 
society, are necessary to the existence of society, must, V 
by the very fact of the existence of society, be taken for 
o-ranted." On p. 356, he adds : " If it be asked which 
of these" (hereditary, mixed, or republican) "is the 
preferable form of government, the answer, I think, must 
be conditional. The best form of government for any 
people, is the best that its present social and moral condi- 
tion renders practicable. A people may be so entirely sur- 
rendered to the influence of passion, and so feebly influ- 
enced by moral restraints, that a government which relied 
upon moral restraints could not exist for a day. In 
this case a subordinate and' inferior principle yet re- 



258 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

mains, — the jyrinciple of fear: and the only resort is to a 
government of force, or a military despotism." 

If then the necessities of order justify J;he subjection 
of a whole nation, with their labour, property, and lives, 
to one man, will not the same reasons justify the far 
milder and more benevolent authority of masters over 
^ their servants ? If it appear that the Africans in these 
States were by recent descent pagans and barbarians, 
men in bodily strength and appetite, with the reason 
and morals of children, constitutionally prone to improv- 
idence, so that their possession of all the franchises of 
a free white citizen would make them a nuisance to 
society and early victims to their own degradation ; and 
if sound experience teaches that this ruin cannot bo 
prevented without a degree of restraint approaching 
that proper for children ; that is, by giving to a guar- 
dian the controul of their involuntary labour, and the 
expenditure of the fruits for the joint benefit of the 
parties ; how can we be condennied for it? And that 
social welfare and order, and the happiness of the Afri- 
can himself, do call imperiously for this degree of con- 
troul, is confessed by all wlio have a practical knowl- 
^ edge of his character, as it is proved by the disasters 
resulting from his emancipation. 

Every government in the world acknowledges this 
necessity, and applies, in some form, this remedy. The 
abolition government of the United States, for instance, 
imposed compulsory restraints and labour upon multi- 
tudes of fugitive slaves, during the war. The only dif- 
ference was, that whereas our system of domestic 
slavery placed this power in hands most powerfully in- 
terested to employ it humanely and wisely, the anti- 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 259 

slavery authorities placed it ia hands which had every 
selfish inducement to abuse it to the misery of the slave, 
and the detriment of the publick interest. And the 
same government is to-day avouching every word of 
the above argument, by justifying itself, from a pre- 
tended political necessity, for placing the white race of 
the South under a much stricter bondage than that 
formerly borne by the negroes ; a bondage which places 
not only labour and property, but life, at the irrespon- 
sible will of the masters. If slavery is wrong, then 
the abolitionists are the greatest sinners ; for they ^ave 
turned their own brethren into a nation of slaves. 

Domestic servitude, as we define and defend it, is but 
civil government iu one of its forms. All government 
is restraint ; and this is but one form of restraint. As 
long as man is a sinner, and his will perverted, restraint 
is righteous. We are sick of that arrogant and pro- 
fane cant, which asserts man's ' capacity for self-govern- 
ment' as a universal proposition; which represents 
human nature as so good, and democratic government 
as so potent, that it is a sort of miraculous jmnacea, 
suflScient to repair all the disorders of man's condition. 
All this ignores the great truths, that man is fallen ; 
that his will is disordered, and therefore ought not to 
be his rule ; that God, his owner and master, has 
ordained that he shall live under authority. * What 
fruit has radical democracy ever borne, except fac- 
tious oppression, anarchy, and the stern necessity for 
despotism ? 

It has been stated that each man's civil liberty, which, 
under a just government, is the same with his natural 
liberty, consists in the privilege of doing and having 



260 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tnose tilings to which he is morally entitled. It has 
been shown, that as different persons in the same so- 
ciety differ widely in character, powers, and relations, 
their specific natural rights differ also. But under all 
forms of government, all still have some liberty. And 
under a perfectly equitable form, the different classes of 
persons would properly have different grades of liberty. 
So that, even in the relation of involuntary servitude 
for life, if it be not abused, there is an appropriate 
liberty. Such a servant has privilege to do those things 
which he is morally entitled to do. If there are certain 
things which he is restrained by authority from doing, 
which the superior grades may do, these things are not 
rights to him. His inferior character, ignorance, and 
moral irresponsibility, have extinguished his right to do 
them. And this properly, because his pfivilege of do- 
ing them would injure others and himself, and thus vio- 
late the law of equity. If his slavery restrains him 
from doing more things than these, then the laws do 
him injustice, and mar his rightful liberty. 

This degree of domestic servitude supposes that the 
end of the restraints it imposes is,' to secure, on the 
whole, the best well-being of both parties to the rela- 
tion, servant as well as master. Here we may notice a 
forensic trick practised by Dr. Wayland and the aboli- 
tionists. It is that of giving to the proposition which 
they wish to overthrow, such an exposition as makes it 
absurd in itself. Says this professed moralist, in his 
chapter on slavery: "Domestic slavery proceeds upon 
the principle that the master has a right to controul the 
actions, ph3'sical and intellectual, of the slave, for his 
own, that is, the master's individual benefit ; and of 



THE ETHICAL AEGUMENT. 261 

course, that the happiness of the master, when it comes 
in competition with the happiness of the slave, extin- 
guishes in the latter the right to pursue it." If this 
were true, it would need no argument to show that 
slavery is a natural injustice. But slavery proceeds on 
no such principles. All men ought to know that our 
slave laws proved the contrary, in that they protected 
the slave, in many particulars, against the master's will, 
when it became unrighteous. All know that the pub- 
lick sentiment of our people proved the contrary ; in 
that the vast majority laboured and gave heartily for 
the welfare of their servants. And all men who have 
informed themselves know, that the grand result stamps 
the definition as a misrepresentation ; in that domestic 
slavery here has conferred on the unfortunate black 
race more true well-being than any other form of so- 
ciety has ever given them. But it may be asked : Do 
not many masters selfishly use their slaves according to 
that definition ? We reply: Do not many parents self- 
ishly use their children according to that definition, 
neglecting their culture and true well-being, temporal 
and eternal, for the sake of gain? And is it not in the 
" thrifty" North that most of these instances of greedy, 
grinding parents are found? Yet who dreams of ac- 
cusing the parental relation as therefore unrighteous 
and mischievous ? This selfish tyranny is not the 
parental relation, but the abuse of it. So, every intel- 
ligent master defends his slaveholding, because it was, 
in the main, as preferable for the slave's interest as for 
his own. 



262 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 



§ 4. Abolitionism is Jacobinism. 

The promise was made above, to unmask some of the 
hideous affinities of the anti-slavery theory. This is 
now easy. If men are by nature sovereign and inde- 
pendent, and mechanically equal in rights, and if alle- 
giance is founded solely on expressed or implied con- 
sent, then not only slavery, but every involuntary re- 
straint imposed on a person or a class not convicted of 
crime, and every difference of franchise among the 
members of civil society, is a glaring wrong. Such are 
the premises of abolition. Obviously, then, the only 
just or free government is one where ail franchises are 
absolutely equal to all sexes and conditions, where 
every office is directly elective, and where no magis- 
trate has any power not expressly assented to by the 
popular will. For if inequalities of franchise may be 
justified by dill^n-ences of character and condition, of 
course a still wider difference of these might justify so 
wide an inequality of rights as that between the master 
and servant. Your true abolitionist is then, of course, 
a Red-Republican, a Jacobin. Is not this strikingly 
illustrated by the fact, that the first wholesale abolition 
in the world was that enacted for the French colonies 
by the frantic democrats of the ' Reign of Terror?' And 
this hint may serve to explain to the aristocracy of 
Great Britain the popularity of the authoress of ' Uncle 
Tom's Cabin,' and of her slanderous book, among the 
masses there. It was not because Britain was so ex- 
empt from cases of social hardship and oppression at 
home, that its people had all its virtuous sympathies at 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 263 

leisure and unoccupied, to pour forth upon the imagin- 
ary wrongs of Uncle Tom : but it was because the 
Jacobinism of the abolitionist theory awakened aji 
echo in the hearts of the lower classes, still seething 
with the recent upheaval of 1848. The community of 
agrarian sympathies made itself felt. The noble Lords 
and Ladies, who patronized the authoress and her book, 
were industriously fanning the very fires which are 
destined to consume their vested privileges. 

Again, it follows of course from the premises of 
abolitionism, that hereditary monarchy, no matter how 
limited, is a standing injustice. A hereditary branch of 
the legislature is, if possible, still worse. Any such 
thing as a privileged class in the State is a fraud upon 
the others ; for " all men are equal." The limitation of 
the right of suffrage, by property or sex, is fi crime 
against human right; for the non-voting classes are 
ruled without their own consent ; but consent is, accord- 
ing to them, the source of rightful authority. Thus are 
condemned at once the three branches of the hoary and 
honoured British constitution, kings, lords, and com- 
mons ; under which men have enjoyed regulated liberty 
longer, and to a greater degree, than under any govern- 
ment on earth. And here it may be remarked that 
abolitionist ideas, so current in Great Britain, should 
have been as alien to the prevalent turns of thought of 
that people,' as they certainly are to their welfare and 
the genius of their institutions. That a fantastic sciolist, 
intoxicated with vanity and dazzled by some glittering 
sophisms, should be an abolitionist, is natural. But Eng- 
lishmen have ever been esteemed a solid and practical 
race. Their political conclusions have usually been, to 



v^ 



264: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the credit of their good sense, historical rather than 
theoretical. Their temper has been rather to guard the 
franchises inherited from their fathers, and approved by 
the national experience, than to gape after visionary 
and abstract rights of man. But despite all this, Great 
Britain has also been leavened with this fell spirit. Her 
political managers imagined that they found in aboli- 
tionism the convenient ' apple of discord' to destroy the 
peace of a great rival, and they therefore fostered it. 
To this ^eat injustice they have added the condemna- 
tion of the South unheard, upon the testimony of our 
interested accusers. And the majority of Englishmen, 
with a dogmatism as unjust as senseless, have refused 
to permit either explanation or defence, proudly wrap- 
ped in impenetrable prejudice, while an innocent and 
noble people wei'c condemned and overwhelmed by 
baseless obloquy. But it requires no spirit of prophecy 
to see that Divine Providence is speedily preparing a 
retribution by means of their own sin, which will be 
tremendous enough to satisfy the resentment of any 
injured Southerner. Abolitionized America is mani- 
festly to be the Nemesis of Britain, through her Jacobin 
ideas, or arras, or both. The principles of abolition are, 
as we have proved, destructive of the foundations of 
the British constitution. Her own statesmen have in- 
sanely taught them to her people. The masses do not, 
indeed, reason very continuously or consistently ; yet 
principles once fixed in their minds always work them- 
selves out, in time, to their logical results. The so- 
called " Liberal Party" of Great Britain, which draws 
its inspirations from the abolition democracy of America, 
is unveiling itself more and more, as a party of true 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 265 

Jacobinism ; and other parties have now paltered and 
dallied so long", that it will speedily show itself irresistit»le. 
And when the policy of England is swayed by money- 
less votes, instead of capital and land, the caution and 
forbearance, bred by financial interests, which has thus 
far scarcely kept the peace between her and the United 
States, will speedily be changed. The two Jacobin- 
isms, now so sweetly fraternizing over the ruin of the 
South, will disclose their innate and uniform aggres- 
siveness, and will rush at each other's throats. This 
the immemorial rivalries and opposition of dearest in- 
terests will insure. Then will England feel, in the dis- 
integration of her whole social fabrick by radical 
American ideas, and the Yankee invasions of Canada 
and Ireland, the folly of her own policy. 

But other consequences follow from the abolitionist 
dogmas. "All involuntary restraint is a sin against 
natural rights," therefore laws which give to husbands 
more power over the persons and property of wives, 
than to wives over husbands, are iniquitous, and should 
be abolished. The same decision must be made upon 
the exclusion of women, whether married or single, 
from suffrage, office, and the full franchises of men. 
There must be an end of the wife's obedience to her 
husband. Is it said that these subordinations are con- 
sistent, because women assent to them voluntarily, in 
consenting to become wives ? This plea is insufficient, 
because the female sex is impelled to maiTiage by irre- 
sistible laws of their nature and condition. How tyran- 
nous is this legislation which shuts woman up to the 
alternative of foregoing the satisfaction of the prime in- 
stincts of her existence ; or else of submitting to a code 

12 



266 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

of natural injustice ! As to the disabilities of single 
women, this plea has no pretended application. Thus 
the abolitionists will reason, yea, are reasoning. What 
was the strange prediction of prophetic wisdom, a few 
years ago, is now already familiar fact. Female suf- 
frage is already introduced in one State, and will doubt- 
less prevail as widely as abolitionism. But when God's 
ordinance of" the family is thus uprooted, and all the ap- 
pointed influences of education thus inverted ; when 
America has had a generation of women who were poli- 
ticians., instead of mothers, how fundamental must be^ 
the destruction of society, and how distant and difficult 
must be the remedy I 

Once more: The same principles have consistently led 
some abolitionists to assail the parental relation itself. 
For although none can deny that, in helpless infancy, 
subjection should be the correlative of protection and 
maintenance, when once the young citizen has passed 
from the age of childhood, by what reason can the abo- 
litionist justify his compulsory government by the father ? 
Are not all men by nature equal? 

It has been currently asserted that the premises of 
the abolitionists were embraced in the Declaration of 
Independence; so that the United States have been com- 
mitted to them from the beginning. The words usually 
referred to are the following: " That all men are created 
equal : that they are endowed by their Creator with cer- 
tain inalienable rights : that among these are life, lib- 
erty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure 
these rights governments are instituted among men, de- 
riving their just powers from the consent of the gov- 
erned," etc. If by these celebrated propositions it was 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 267 

meant that there ever was, or could be, a government 
where all men enjoyed the same measure of privilege, 
then it is false. If it was meant that there ever was, 
or could be, a state of society in which all men could 
indulge their volitions to ^the same extent, and that, in 
every case, the full extent, it is false ; for natural and 
unavoidable differences of persons must ever prevent 
this. If it were meant that all men are naturally equal, 
then it would be false ; for men are born with different 
bodily and mental powers, different moral qualities, and 
different inheritances of rights. If it was meant that 
every person enters life free from just controul, it is 
false ; for we all begin our existence rightfully subject, 
irrespective of our consent, to authority in famil}^ and 
State, Neither God nor nature makes it option-al with 
us whether we will be subject to government. But if 
it be meant that all men are created equal in this sense, 
that all are children of a common heavenly Father, all 
common subjects of the law of equity expressed iu the 
" Golden Bule," each one as truly entitled to possess 
the set of rights -justl 3' appropriate to him, (and by the 
same reason,) as any other is entitled to his set of 
rights; this is true, and a glorious truth. This, is 
man's moral equality. It means that, under God, the 
servant is as much entitled to the rights and privileges 
of a justly-treated servant, as the master is to the 
rights of a master ; that the commoner is as much en- 
titled to the just privileges of a commoner, as a peer to 
those of a peer. It is the truthful boast of English- 
men, that in their land every man is equal before the 
law. What does this mean? Does it mean that Lord 
Derby has no other franchises and privileges than the 



268 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

day-labourer ? By no means. But the privileges allotted 
to the da3Mabourer by the laws are defended by the 
same institutions, and adjudicated by the same free 
principles, and made legally as inviolable, as the very 
different and larger privileges of Earl Derby. It is in 
^ this sense that a just and liberal government holds all 
men by nature equal. And if, when the Declaration of 
Independence says that the right of all men to their 
liberty is "inalienable," the proper definition of civil 
liberty is accepted, (that it only means privilege to do 
what each man, in his peculiar circumstances, has a 
moral right to do,) this also is universally true. But all 
this is perfectly consistent with differences of social 
condition, and station, and privilege ; where characters 
and relations are different. As we have seen, the sei'- 
vant for life, who as a slave receives " those things 
which are just and equal," has his true liberty, though 
it is dififerent from that of flie free citizen ; and the ser- 
vant can no more be justly stripped of this his modicum 
of liberty, than the master of his. Last, when it is 
declared that* " governments derive their just powers 
from the consent of the governed," there is a sense in 
whi^h it is true, and one in Avhich it is false. In one 
sense, they derive their just powers from God, his law, 
and providence. In the other sense, that the people arc 
not for their rulers, but the rulers for their people, the 
selection of particular forms of constitution and of the 
individuals to execute the functions, belongs to the 
aggx-egate rectitude and intelligence of the common- 
^i wealth, expressed in some way practically fair. But by 
"the consent of the governed," our wise fathers never 
intended the consent of each particular human being. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 269 

competent and incompetent. They intended tbe repre- 
sentative commonwealth as a body, the "populus," or 
aggregate corporation of that part of the human beings ^ 
properly wielding the franchises of full citizens.* Their 
proposition is general, and not particular. The men of 
ltl6 were not vain Ideologues; they were sagacious, 
practical Englishmen. Thus understood, as every cor- 
rect thinker does, they teach nothing against difference 
of privilege among the subjects of government ; and 
consequently, nothing inconsistent with the servitude of 
those who are found incapable of beneficially possessing 
a fuller liberty. 

Now, the evidence that this only was their meaning 
is absolutely complete. Had their proposition been that 
of the Jacobin abolitionist, (that just claim on men's 
obedience to authority is founded on the individual's 
consent,) they must have ordered every thing differ- 
ently from their actual legislation. They could not / 
have countenanced limited sufirage, of which nearly all 
of them were advocates. They must have taught female 
suffrage, which the most democratic of them would have 
pronounced madness. Not only did they retain the 
African race in slavery, in the face of this declaration, 
but they refused to adopt full democratic equality, in 
reconstructing their constitutions. Were these men 
fools? Were they ignorant of the plain meaning of 
their own propositions ? Did they, like modern Radicals, 
disdain the plainest obligations of consistency ? Some 
attempt to evade their retention of slavery, by saying 
that they did not defend its consistency, nor contem- 
plate it as a permanent relation ; but the other facts 
are unanswerable. It may be true that Jefferson, the 



270 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

draughtsman of the Declaration, did heartily adopt his 
propositions in the sense of the advocates of the social 
contract ; for it is well known that he was properly 
a Demticrat, and not, like the other great AVhigs of Vir- 
ginia, only a Republican ; that he had drauk deeply 
into the spirit of Locke's political writings ; and that 
he had already contx-acted a fondness for the atheistical 
philosophy of the French political reformers. But who 
can believe that George Mason, of Guuston, could fail 
to see the glaring inconsistency between these propo- 
sitions, taken in the extravagant and radical sense now 
forced upon them by the abolitionists, and the constitu- 
tion which he gave to the State of Virginia ? Accord- 
ing to that immortal instrument, our commonwealth 
was as distinctly contrasted with a levelling democracy, 
as anj' monarchy regulated by laws could possibly be. 
It was, indeed, a liberal, aristocratic republic. None 
could vote save the owners of land in fee-simple ; and 
these were permitted to exercise their elective powers 
directly, only in one sole instance, the election of the 
General Assembly. This Assembly then exercised, with- 
out farther reference to the freeholders, all the powers 
of the commonwealth. The Assembly elected the Gov- 
ernor of the State. The Assembly appointed all judges 
of law, and executive officers of State. The county 
courts, to whom belonged the whole power of police, 
of local taxation, and of administration of local justice 
in cases beneath the grade of a felony, formed a proper 
aristocracy'', serving for life, appointing their own clerks 
and sheriffs, and filling vacancies in their own numbers 
by a nomination to the Governor, whicli was always 
virtually imperative. Such was the government which 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. -271 

the statesmen of Virginia deliberately adopted, after 
signing the Declaration of Independence ; than which 
none could have been devised by human wit, so well 
adapted to the character and wants of their people, and 
under which they exhibited the highest political sta- 
bility and purity which our commonwealth has ever 
known. Any one who knows the British Constitution 
will see at a glance, that our Virginian frame of gov- 
ernment was not the work of men led by the Utopian 
dream of "liberty, fraternity, and equality," but of 
practical statesmen, establishing for their posterity the 
historical rights of British freemen. 

But were the language of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence as decisive as anti-slavery men suppose, it would 
concern us exceedingly little. We regard it as no 
political revelation. When we formed a part of the 
United States, it was no article of our constitution ; 
and still less are we responsible for it now. If it should 
be even convicted of embodying some error, this would 
be neither very surprising, nor very disgraceful to its 
authors. For what more probable than that men in- 
flamed by the spirit of resistance to tyranny, and sur- 
rounded by the excitements of a revolution, in the 
indiscreet effort to propound a set of abstract general- 
ities as the basis of their action, should mix the 
plausible errors of the advocates of freedom with the 
precious truth ? • 

§ 5. Labour of another may he Property. 

By confounding the master's right to the slave's 
labour with a pretended property in his conscience, 
soul, and whole personality, abolitionists have at- 



272 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tempted to represent "property in man" as a self- 
evident wrong. But we shall show that; in the only 
sense in which we liold it, property in man is recognized 
by the laws of every commonwealth. The father has 
property in his child, the master in his apprentice, the 
V husband in his wife, the wife in her husband, and the em- 
ployer in his liireling. In every one of these cases, this 
property is recoverable by suits at law, and admits of 
being transmuted for money, just as any other possession. 
When the husband is killed by the culpable negligence 
of a railroad company'- which had engaged to transport 
him for hire, the wife sues and recovers money dam- 
ages. When the daughter is seduced from her father's 
house, he may sue for compensation, and the court will 
assess the value of her remaining services until her 
majority, at such a sum as they judge proper. How is 
this to be explained, save by regarding the wife as 
having lawful property in the industry of her husband, 
and the father as having propertj' in the labour of his 
daughter? The labour of a minor son is often sold by 
the father, and thus becomes the property of the pur- 
chaser. It is of no avail to say that this labour is vol- 
untary, and that the property originates in the virtual 
compact between the parties ; for this is not true of the 
parental relation. Still another striking instance of 
lawful property in the involuntary labour of a fellow- 
man, appears in the apprenticeship of the children of 
paupers. Pauperism is not a crime ; yet these chil- 
dren are, with undisputed moral propriety, indentxired 
to householders, during their minority ; and the labour 
thus conveyed is hired, sold, bequeathed, just as any 
other property. Dr. Wayland argues that there cannot 



THE ETHICAL AEGUMENT. 273 

be ownership iu man, because ownership as lie defines 
it, consists in our ^' right to use the 2^roj)erty as ive please."^ 
This definition was made to suit abolitionism, and is 
not the truth. May we, because we have property in 
our horses, use them living as we would our logs of 
wood, for fuel ? The ethics of common sense, as that of 
all true science, (what Dr. W. should have known, if he 
had been fit to do what he assumed, teach science,) 
define ownership to be a right to use our property ac- 
cording to its nature. Thus defined, property in man 
presents no solecism whatever, inconsistent with right- 
eousness. 

§ 6. The Slave Received due Wages. 

But it is charged that the injustice of our system is 
apparent in this, that it takes the slave's labour with- 
out compensation. It is simply untrue. Southern 
slaves received, on the average, better and more cer- 
tain compensation than any labouring people of their 
capacity in the world. It came to them in the form of 
that maintenance, which the master was bound by the 
laws,* as well as his own interests, to bestow upon 
them. During childhood, they were reared at his ex- 
pense ; in sickness they received maintenance, nurs- 
ing, and the same medical advice which he provided 
for his own children ; all at his expense. When they 
married and had children, (which all did, single-bless- 
edness was unknown among them,) their families 
were provided for by the masters without one addi- 
tional toil or anxiety on their part. When they died, 



*See Code of Va., 1849, Chap. 10 §G. 
12* 



^ 



^ 



274 A DEFEIJCE OF VIRGINIA. 

their orplians had, in the master's estate, an unfailing 
provision against destitution ; and if old age overtook 
them, they received, without labour, the same supplies 
and comforts which were allotted to them in their 
prime. How many of the sons of toil in nominally free 
countries would seize with rapture the offer of such 
wages for their labour, if the name of slavery were de- 
tached from them ? To be able to secure, by the mod- 
erate labours of their active years, a certain and liberal 
provision for their daily wants, for their families, how- 
ever large, and for sickness and old age, would be a 
contract so advantageous, in comparison with the 
hardships and uncertainties of the peasant's usual life, 
that few thoughtful persons of that class would hesi- 
tate, from love of novelty or dim hope of a more lucky 
career, to embrace it. But this is just what our laws 
and customs gave to our slaves, as wages of their easy 
labour. 

But the anti-slavery man objects, that the adjustment 
of this compensation is made at the will of the master 
alone, while the slave has no power to influence it. 
This is precisely the same objection, in effect, with the 
one that the labour is involuntary. We have already 
shown that this circumstance alone does not make the 
claim on the labour unjust. And if the system makes 
for the slave, on the average, a better bargain than he 
could make for himself, where is his hardship ? Is he 
injured by being restrained of the liberty of injuring 
himself ? Surely, the fairness of any system should be 
judged by the fairness of its average results. If some 
masters withhold a part of the due wages, by failing 
to "render to their servants that which is just and 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 275 

equal," this is their individual fault, not that of the 
system. St. Paul, in the passage quoted, manifestly- 
thought that we might hold the involuntary labour of 
our slaves, and yet be no robbers. 

But our enemies return to the charge, urging that 
we robbed our slaves, because we engrossed to our- 
selves the lion's share of the bondsman's labour. The 
master and his family, say thej^ w^ho did no work, 
rolled in luxury, while the poor slaves, who did all, got 
only such a pittance as was needed to preserve their 
capacity for toil. This is false in every part. Masters 
and their families were not idlers. Their life was not 
relatively luxurious. The slave's share was not a pit- 
tance, but much more like the lion's share. But, they 
exclaim : " Let the masters stand aside and allow the 
slaves to enjoy the whole fruits of the estates they cul- y 
tivate : then only will the former cease to be robbers." 
This astonishing folly is exposed by simply asking, 
whether capital and superintending skill are not en- 
titled to wages, as well as labour ? The crops of the 
Southern plantation were the joint fruit of the master's 
capital, the master's labour and skill of oversight, and 
the slaves' labour. If capital be denied all remunera- 
tion, the wheels of productive industry would stop 
everywhere, to the especial ruin of the labouring 
classes. Does the anti-slavery manufacturer of Lowell 
or Manchester think it fair, after investing his 
thousands in fixtures and material, and bestowing his 
anxious superintendence, that his operatives should 
claim the whole profits of the factory, leaving him not 
a penny, because, forsooth, he never spun or wove a 
thread ? Away with the nonsense 1 Southern slaves 



276 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

enjoyed a larger share of the proceeds of conjoined 
capital, superintending skill, and labour, than any 
operatives in the world. This is not only allowed, but 
virtually asserted, by anti-slavery men, when they 
reason that slavery is an economical evil, because the 
maintenance of slaves is more costly, in proportion to 
the value of their labour, than that of free labourers. 
Thus, in one place, they object that slaves receive too 
much compensation, and in another, that they receive 
too little. Nor is it true that Southern masters usually 
make no contribution of labour to the products of 
their farms. There is nowhere a population of equal 
wealth, more industrious than slaveholders. The mas- 
ter usually contributes far more to the common pro- 
duction than the strongest labourer on his estate ; and 
the mistress more than the most industrious female 
servant, partly in the labours of superintendence, but 
also in actual toil. 

§ 1. Effects of Slavery on Moral Character. 

It is argued by abolitionists, that slavery regularly 
exerts many influences tending to degrade the moral 
character of both masters and servants. Their charge 
cannot be better stated than in the words of Dr. 
Wayland. ["Moral Science," Personal Liberty, Ch. I., 
§2.] 

"Its eiTects must be disastrous upon the morals of 
both parties. By presenting objects on whom passion 
may be satiated without resistance, and without re- 
dress, it tends to cultivate in the master, pride, anger, 
cruelty, selfishness, and licentiousness. By accustom- 
ing tlie slave to subject his moral principles to the will 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 277 

of another, it tends to abolish in him all moral distinc- 
tions, and thus fosters in him, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, 
dishonesty, and a willingness to yield himself up to 
minister to the appetites of his master. That in all 
slaveholding countries there are exceptions to this re- 
mark, and that there are principles in human nature 
which, in many cases, limit the effect of these ten- 
dencies, may be gladly admitted. Yet that such is the 
tendency of slavery as slavery, we think no reflecting 
person can for a moment hesitate to allow." 

This is a flattering picture of us, truly 1 By good 
fortune, it is drawn by one who knows nothing of us. 
Just such are the current representations Avhich 
Yankees have made of Southern morals, down to the 
notable instance of Senator Sumner's speech on the 
"Barbarism of Slavery." The question whether the 
system of slave labour deteriorates the morals of master 
and servant, as compared with that of free labour, may 
be treated as one of deduction and reasoning, or one 
of fact. The latter is the more trustworthy way to 
decide it. Dr. Wayland undertakes to settle it solely 
by the former. And it is manifest to the first glance, 
that his whole reasoning begs the question. If the 
very relation is wicked, if every act of authority on the 
master's part is a wrong, and of submission on the 
servant's part is a surrender of his right, then the 
reasoning is plausible. But let us suppose, for argu- 
ment's sake, (what may be true, as it is the very point 
undecided,) that the relation may be right, the au- 
thority exercised lawful, and the things our servants 
are usually enjoined to do, innocent acts. Then, the 
fact that there is authority on one side and obedience 



278 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

on the other, cannot tend, of itself, to degrade ruler 
and ruled: for if this were so, the parental relation 
itself (ordained by God as His school of morals for 
young human beings) would be a school of vice. But 
the argument is a sophism, in a yet more audacious 
and insulting sense. Its author argues the degrada- 
tion of the slave, chiefly becauso his wicked master 
compels him by fear to do so many wicked things. 
But suppose the master to be a gentleman, and not a 
brute, so that the things he customarily compels the 
slave to do, are right things ; where, then, is tlie argu- 
ment ? Which of the two characters masters usually 
bear, is the question to be solved at the conclusion of 
the reasoning, and, yet more, to be decided by the 
surer testimony of fact. But Dr. Wayland chooses to 
begin by presuming, a jiriori, that masters are gen- 
erally rascals. 

Wisdom would infer, on the contrary, that the ha- 
bitual exercise of authority, approved as righteous by 
the ruler's conscience, tends to elevate his character. 
He who would govern others must first govern himself. 
Hence, we should expect to find him who is compelled 
to exercise a hereditary and rightful authority, a man 
more self-governed, thoughtful, considerate, firm, and 
dignified, than other men. The habit of providing con- 
stantly for a number of persons, whom he is impelled 
by the strongest self-interest to care for efficiently, 
should render a man considerate of others, and benevo- 
lent. Experience will soon teach the head of such an 
estate, that his relation with his dependents must be 
any thing else than a carnival of self-indulgence, 
violence, and tyranny; for such a life will speedily leave 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 279 

him no servants to abuse. On the contrary, the very 
necessities of his position compel him to be, to a 
certain extent, provident, methodical, and equitable. 
Without these virtues, his estate slips rapidly away. 
And who, that knows human nature, can fail to see the 
powerful eifects of the institution in developing, in the 
ruling caste, a higher sentiment of personal honour, 
chivalry, and love of liberty ? This was asserted of 
the slaveholders of Virginia and the Carolinas by 
the sagacious Burke. It is very true, that if every 
man in the country were under the vital influence of 
Christian sanctification, he would not need these more 
human influences to elevate his character. But the 
wise statesman takes men as they are, not as they 
should be. Until the millennium, the elevating in- 
fluences of social position will continue to be of great 
practical value. Yankeedom, at least, continues thus 
far to exhibit a great want of them. 

But now, in considering the actual influences of sla- 
very on the morals of the Africans, let the reader re- 
member what they actually were before they were 
placed under this tutelage. He may be sure they were 
not what abolitionism loves to picture them, a sort of 
Ebony Arcadians, full of simple, pastoral purity, and of 
what infidels vainly prate as the dignity of native vir- 
tue. It is not slavery which has degraded them from 
that imaginary elevation. On the contrary, they were 
what God's word declares human depravity to be under 
the degrading effects of paganism. Let the reader see 
the actual and true picture, in the first chapter of Ro- 
mans, and in authentic descriptions of the negro in his 
own jungles, such as the invaluable work of Dr. John 



280 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

Leighton Wilson, on the tribes of the Guinea coast. 
And here, moreover, he will find proof, that the type of 
savage life brought to America originally by the slave 
trade, was far below that witnessed in Africa among 
the more noticeable tribes ; because the great bulk of 
the slaves were either the Pariahs of that barbarous 
society, or the kidnapped members of the feeble frag- 
ments of bush tribes, who had nearly perished before 
the comparative civilization of the Mandingoes and 
Greboes, living but one remove above the apes around 
them. Now cannot common sense see the moral ad- 
vantage to such a people, of subjection to the will of a 
race elevated above them, in morals and intelligence, 
to an almost measureless degree ? Is it no moral ad- 
vantage to be compelled to wear decent clothing, and 
to observe at least the outward proprieties which should 
obtain between the sexes ? None to be taught indus- 
try, in place of pagan laziness; and methodical habits, 
in place of childish waste and unthrift ? The destructive 
effects of the savage's common vices, lying, theft, drunk- 
enness, laziness, waste, upon business and. pecuniary 
interests, will of course prompt masters to repress those 
vices, if no higher motive does. Is this no gain for the 
poor pagan? Especially does the matter of drunken- 
ness illustrate, in a splendid manner, the benign effects 
of our system on African character and happiness. 
Place any savage race beside a civilized and commer- 
cial people, and leave them free ; and the speedy result 
is, that the " fire-water" consumes and depopulates them. 
Witness the North American Indians. But here was 
just such a race, in the midst of the temptation and 
opportunity, and yet preserved from all appreciable 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 281 

evil from this source, and advancing in physical com- 
fort, manners, and numbers, more rapidly than any 
white race in Christendom. While numbers of Afri- 
cans exhibited just that weakness for ardent spirits, 
which is to be expected in people lately barbarians, yet 
so wholesome were the restraints of that regular and 
constant occupation enforced upon them, it was the 
rarest thing in the world that a farm-servant filled a 
drunkard's grave among us. But now the flood-gates 
are opened. Was not Dr. Wayland a temperance man ? 
Southern slavery was the most efficient temperance 
society in the world. 

Once more, was it nothing, that this race, morally 
inferior, should be brought into close relations to a no- 
bler race, so that the propensity to imitation should be 
stimulated by constant and intimate observation, by 
domestic affection, by the powerful sentiment of alle- 
giance and dependence ? And above all, was it 
nothing that they should be brought, by the relation of 
servitude, under the consciences and Christian zeal of 
a Christian people, in circumstances which most pow- 
erfully enlisted their sense of responsibility, and gave 
free scope to their labour of love ? Let the blessed re- 
sults answer, of a nation of four millions lifted, in four 
generations, out of idolatrous debasement, " sitting 
clothed, and in their right mind ;" of more than half a 
million adult communicants in Christian churches! 
And all this glorious work has been done exclusively 
by Southern masters ; for^iever did foreign or Yankee 
abolitionist find leisure from the more congenial work 
of slandering the white, to teach or bless the black 
man in any practical way. This much-abused system 



2S2 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

has thus accomplished for the Africans, amidst univer- 
sal opposition and. obloquy, more than all the rest of 
the Christian world together has accomplished for the 
rest of the heathen. 

It is the delight of abolitionists to impute to slavery 
v\ a result peculiarly corrupting as to sins of unchastity. 
Witness the repetitious charges by Dr. Wayland, of 
these sins, as contaminating both masters and slaves, in 
consequence of slavery. The evidence of facts has 
been already given as to the comparative justice of this 
charge. But reason itself would suggest to the least re- 
flection, that Southern households are not the only ones 
where young men and female domestics are thrown to- 
gether, amidst all the temptations and opportunities of 
privacy and domestic intimacy; that the power of cor- 
poral punishment, unlawful here for this end, is not the 
onl}' power which a superior may apply to an inferior to 
overcome her chastity, nor the most eflective. But, on 
the other hand, reason would suggest that the employ- 
ment of free persons of the same colour and race would 
greatly enhance the force of those temptations ; while 
among us, the differences of colour, race, and personal 
attractions, would greatly diminish them ; while the 
very sentiment of superior caste would render the in- 
tercourse more repulsive and unnatural. 

The testimony of facts, however, is the conclusive 
evidence on the question, whether our system is rela- 
tively more corrupting than that of free labour. In 
this department of the discussion, Providence has given 
us a refutation against the Yankees so terribly biting, 
as fully to satisfy any indignation which their arrogant 
railings may have excited in our bosoms. We were 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 283 

placed tog-ether at the beg-iimiug- of our national exist- 
ence, under the same Federal government, and under 
similar relig-ious and State institutions. Our union 
presented a common field for constant meeting and 
comparison. And what were the results disclosed? It 
has been shown that wJiilo. the South, as a great sec- 
tion of the Union, never, in one single instance, made 
any general or united movement to pervert Federal 
laws and powers for unfair local purposes ; while the 
South ever manifested a chivalrous patriotism against 
any assaults upon the common rights ; the North has 
never failed, from the first year of the government, to ^ 
use it as a machine for legislative extortion and local 
advantage ; and the North has usually played the 
traitor to the common cause when assailed from with- 
out, even when, as in the second war with England, the 
interests assailed by the foreign enemy, and generous- 
ly defended by the South, were more peculiarly her 
own. It has appeared that when at last legislative 
peculation grew so foul that the publick demanded in- 
quiry, every member of the Congress convicted of that ^ 
disgraceful iniquity, was from the North, and not one 
from the South. If we pass to personal comparisons, 
the publick men of the South have shown themselves, 
on the federal arena, superior, in general, in the talent 
of command, in personal honour, in dignity, in the 
amenities of life, in forbearance and self-controul ; while 
that very petulance, wilfulness, and love of arbitrary 
power, which, abolition philosophers infer, must be the ^ 
peculiar fruits of slaveholding, were exhibited in 
marked contrast, by the few Northern Presidents who 
had the fortune to reach that high position. Compare, 



284 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

for instance, the benign Washington, a great slave- 
holder, with that petty tyrant, the elder Adams ; or 
Jefferson, Madison and Monroe with his son, (worthy 
son of such a sire,) John Quincy Adams ; or Jefferson 
Davis with Abraham Lincoln ; or our Lee, Johnstons, 
Jackson and Beauregard, with a McNeill and a Butler 1 
So well proved ai-e the superior courtesy, liberality, and 
humanity of the Southern gentleman, that the very por- 
ters on the wharves, and waiters in the hotels, of North- 
ern cities, recognize them by these traits. It has been 
the fashion of a certain type of poltroons among the 
Yankees, who wish to indulge the anger and malignity 
of the bully, along with the safety and impunity of the 
Quaker, to represent the resort of Southerners to the 
code of honour, as a peculiar proof of their uncivilized 
condition. They exclaim triumphantly that we fight 
duels, while Yankees do not. Now the code of honour 
is certainly irrational, unchristian, and wicked. But 
there is another thing that is greatly more wicked ; 
and this is the disposition to inflict upon a fellow-man 
the injuries and insults which that code proposes to 
prevent ; and then cloak one's self under the cowardly 
pretence of a conscience which forbids to fight. The 
duellist sins by anger and revenge : these sneaking 
hypocrites sin by anger and revenge, and cowardice and 
lying, at once. The truly good man is forbidden by his 
conscience from seeking retaliation ; but the same con- 
science equally forbids him to inflict on others the in- 
juries which provoke retaliation. The man who wil- 
fully injures his fellow, has therefore no right to plead 
conscience, for refusing satisfaction. It is not con- 
science, but cowardice. While, then, we mourn the 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 285 

ci'imcs of violent retaliation which sometimes occur at 
the South, the citizens of the North have occasion for a 
deeper blush, at the crimes of malignant slander and 
vituperation which their people arc accustomed to 
launch at us from the vile hiding-place of their hypo- 
critical puritanism. 

It will be seen by every one, that the females of the 
ruling class must be very intimately concerned in the 
duties of the relation of master and servant. It is prop- 
erly termed domestic slavery ; and woman's functions 
are wholly domestic. If then, slavery is morally cor- 
rupting, Southern ladies should show the sad result very 
plainly. But what says fact? Its testimony is one 
which fills the heart of every Southern man with grate- 
ful pride ; that the Southern lady is proverbially eminent 
for all that adorns female character, for grace, for pu- 
rity and refinement, for benevolence, for generous char- 
ity, for dignified kindness^ud forbearance to inferiours, 
for chivalrous moral courage, and for devout piety. 

"We might safely submit the comparative soundness 
of Southern society to this test : that it has never gen- 
erated any of those loathsome isms, which Northern soil 
breeds, as rankly as the slime of Egypt its spawn of 
frogs. While the North has her Mormons, her various 
sects (ff Communists, her Free Lovers, her Spiritualists, 
and a multitude of corrupt visionaries whose names and 
crimes are not even known among us, our soil has never 
proved congenial to the birth or introduction of a single 
one of these inventions. 

But the crowning refutation of this slander against 
Southern morals, is presented by the great war lately 
concluded — a refutation whose glory repays us for long 



2&6 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

years of reproach. Dispassionate spectators abroad have 
passed their verdict of disgust upon the combination 
of feebleness in the field, boasting and falsehood at 
home, venality and peculation towards their own treas- 
ury and the property of private citizens, with ruthless 
violation of all the laws of humanity. Dispassionate 
spectators 1 No ; there were none such : but from ig- 
norant and prejudiced minds stuffed with misconceptions 
by our interested assailants, the splendid disclosure of 
civic and military genius, bravery, fortitude under in- 
credible hardships, magnanimity under unspeakable 
provocations, and dignity under defeat, which appeared 
at the South, drew a general acclaim of admiration from 
the whole civilized world. This war, among its many 
evils, has done us this good, that it has settled for this 
century the charge of the " barbarism of Southern 
slavery." 

But it may not be amiss tc^'eveal those vices which 
are peculiarly opposed to the Yankees' own boasts, as 
the inhabitants of " the land of steady habits." Our sol- 
diers who have been prisoners of war among them, all 
report that their camps were Pandemoniums, for their 
resounding blasphemies and profanities. Nothing was 
more common than the capture from them of prisoners 
of war, too drunk to walk steadily. The mass T5f the 
letters found upon their slain, and about their captured 
• camps, disclosed a shocking prevalence of prurient and 
licentious thought, both in their armies and at home. 
And our unfortunate servants seduced away by their ar- 
mies, usually found, to their bitter cost, that lust for the 
African women was a far more prevalent motive, than 
their pretended humanity, for their liberating zeal. Such 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. SS'J 

was the monstrous abuse to which these poor creatures 
were subjected, that decent slave fathers often hid their 
daughters in the woods, from their pretended liberators, 
as fi-om beasts of prey. 

We freely avow that the line of argument which oc- 
cupies this section is not to our taste ; nor, as was in- 
timated in the introduction, do we regard it as the safest 
means of ascertaining the moral influences of the two 
systems. But it has not been by our choice that it has 
been introduced. The slanders of our accusers have 
thrust it upon us. TVe now gladly dismiss it with this 
general concluding remark ; that the comparative gen- 
eral virtue of Southern masters, and the purity of South- ^ 
ern Christianity, arc a strong evidence that we were not 
living in a criminal relation, as to the African race. For 
sins are always gregarious. One sin, permanently es- 
tablished in the heart and life, always introduces its 
foul kindred. Sin is contagious. An unsound spot in 
the choracter ultimately taints the whole. The mis- 
guided gentleman who first yields to the passion of 
gaming, solely for its amusement and excitement, can- 
not continue a habitual gamester and a gentleman. The 
ingenuous youth who harbours the habit of intoxication, 
in due time ceases to be even ingenuous. These unhal- 
lowed passions, once established, introduce fraud, selfish- 
ness, meanness, falsehood. So, we argue, if slavehold- ^ 
ing were a sin, its practice would surely tell upon the 
honour and integrity of those who continue in it. But 
Southern character exhibits no such general effect. 



288 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

§ 8. Slavery and the African Slave Trade. 

It is a plausible ground of opposition to slavery, to 
charge it with the guilt of the slave trade. It is argued 
that unless we are willing to justify the capttire of free 
and innocent men, on their own soil, and their reduction 
from freedom to slavery, with all the enormous injustice 
and cruelty of the African slave trade, we must acknow- 
ledge that the title of the Southern master to his slave 
at this day is unrighteous ; that a system which had its 
origin in wrong cannot become right by the lapse of 
time ; that, if the title of the piratical slave catcher on 
the coast of Africa was unrighteous, he cannot sell to 
the purchaser any better title than he has ; and that an 
unsound title cannot become sound by the passage of 
time. It need hai'dly be said that we abhor the injustice, 
cruelty, and guilt of the African slave trade. It is justly 
condemned by the public law of Christendom — a law 
which not Wilbcrforce, nor the British Parliament, nor 
British, nor Yankee Abolitionists, have the honour of 
originating, but the slaveholding Commonwealth of 
Virginia. It is condemned by the law of God. Moses 
placed this among the judicial statutes of the Jews : 
"And he that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be 
found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.'' 
We fully admit, then, that the title of the original 
slave catcher to the captured African was most un- 
righteous. But few can be ignorant of the principle, 
that a title, originally bad, may be replaced by a good- 
one, by transmission from hand to hand, and by lapse 
of time. When the property has been acquired, by the 
latest holder, fairly and honestly; when, in the later 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMEKT. 289 

transfers, a fair equivalent was paid for it, and the last 
jDOSsessor is innocent of fraud in intention and in the 
actual mode of his acquisition of it, more wrong would 
be eifected by destroying his title, than by leaving the 
original wrong unredressed. Common sense says, that 
wliatever may have been the original title, a new and 
valid one has arisen out of the circumstances of the case. 
If this principle be denied, half the property of the 
civilized world will be divorced from its present owners. 
All now agree that the pretext which gave ground for 
the conquest of William of Normandy was wicked; and 
however just it might have been, by the laws of nations, 
the conquest of the government of a country ought not 
to disturb the rights of individuals in private property. 
The Norman Conquest resulted in a complete transfer of 
almost all the land in England to the hands of new 
proprietors; and nearly all the land titles of England, at 
the present day, are the legal progeny of that iniquitous 
robbery, which transferred the territory of the king- 
dom from the Saxon to the Norman barons. If lapse of 
time, and change of hands, cannot make a bad title 
good, then few of the present landlords of England 
have any right to their estates. Upon the same prin- 
ciples, the tenants leasing from them have no right to 
their leases, and consequently they have no right to 
the productions of the farms they hold. If they have 
no right to those productions, then they cannot com- 
municate any right to those who purchase from them; 
so that n^j man eating a loaf of English bread, or wear- 
ing a coat of English wool, could be certain that he 
was not consuming what was not his own. Thus 
extravagant and absurd are the results of such a 

13 



290 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

principle. Let us apply to the abolitionists their own 
argument, and we shall unseat the most of them from 
the snug homes whence they hurl denunciations at us. 
It is well known that their forefathers obtained the 
most of that territory from the poor Indians, either by 
fraud or violence. If lapse of time and subsequent 
transfers cannot make a sound title in place of an un- 
sound one, then few of the people of the North have any 
right to the lands they hold; and, as honest men, they 
are bound to vacate them. To this even as great a 
man as Dr. Wayland, the philosopher of abolitionism, 
has attempted an answer, by saying that this right, 
arising from possession, only holds so long as the true, 
original owner, or the inheritor of his right, does not 
appear; and that, when he appears, the right of posses- 
sion perishes at once. But he argues, the original and 
true claimant to the ownership of the slave is always 
present, in the person of the slave himself; so that the 
right originating in possession cannot exist for a mo- 
ment. Without staying to inquire whether the presence 
of the inheritor of the original right necessarily puts an 
end to this right of possession — a proposition worse 
than questionable — I would simply remark, that, to 
represent the slave himself as the possessor of the orig- 
inal right, is a complete begging of the question. It 
assumes the very point in dispute, whether the right of 
the master is sound or not. And we would add, what 
would the courts of New England, what would Dr. Way- 
land say, should the feeble remnants of the Ne^^^England 
Indians, who are yet lingering in those States, claim 
all the fair domains of their tribe ? And what would 
be said in England, if the people of Saxon descent 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 291 

Bhould rise upon all those noble houses who boast a 
Norman origin, and claim their princely estates ? 

But we carry this just argumentum ad hominem nearer 
home. If the Virfjinian slaveholder derived from the 
New England or British slave-trader, no valid title to 
the African, then the trader had no valid title to the 
planter's money. What can be clearer than this ? And 
if continued possession, with lapse of time, and trans- 
mission from hand to»hand, cannot convert an unsound 
title into a sound one, all the wealth acquired by the 
African slave trade, together with all its increase, is 
wrongfully held by the heirs of those slave dealers : it 
belongs to the heirs of the planters from whom it was 
unjustly taken. Now it is well known that the New 
England States, and especially the little State of Dx'. 
Wayland, Ehode Island, drew immense sums from the 
slave trade ; and it was said of the merchants of Liver- 
pool and Bristol, that the very bricks of their houses 
were cemented with the blood of the slave. Who can 
tell how much of the wealth which now freights the 
ships, and drives the looms of these anti-slavery marts, 
is the fruit of slave profits ? Let the pretended owners 
disgorge their spoils, and restore them to the Virginian 
planters, to indemnify them for thq worthless and fic- 
titious title to the* slaves whom they have been called 
upon to emancipate ; in order that means may be pro- 
vided to make their new liberty a real blessing to them. 
Thus we should have a scheme for emancipation, or col- 
onization, which would be just in both its aspects. But 
will abolitionism assent to this? About as soon as 
death will surrender its prey. Let them cease, then, for 
shame's sake, to urge this sophism. 



292 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

If this principle of a right originated by possession 
can be sound anywhere, it is sound in its application to 
our slaves. The title by which the original slave 
catchers held them may have been iniquitous. But these 
slave catchers were not citizens of the Southern colo- 
nies ; these slaves were not brought to our shores by 
our ships. They were presented by the inhuman cap- 
tors, dragged in chains from the filthy holds of the slave 
ships ; and the alternative before tliti planter was, either 
to purchase them from him who possibly had no right to 
sell them, or re-consign them to fetters, disease, and 
death. The slaves themselves hailed the conclusion of 
a sale with joy, and begged the planters to become their 
masters, as a means of rescue from their floating prison. 
The planters, so far as they were concerned, paid a fair 
commercial equivalent for the labour of the slaves ; and 
the right so acquired passed legally through genera- 
tions from father to son, or seller to purchaser. The re- 
lation, so iniquitously begun in those cases where the 
persons imported were not slaves already in Africa, has 
been fairly and justly transferred to subsequent owners, 
and has resulted in blessings to the slaves. Its dissolu- 
tion is more mischievous to them than to the masters. 
Must it not be admitted that the injustice in which the 
relation originated no longer attaches to it? The dif- 
ference between the title of the original slave catcher, 
and that of the late Virginian slave owner, is as great 
as between the ruffian Norman freebooter, who con- 
quered his fief at Hastings, and his law-abiding descend- 
ant, the Christian gentleman of England. 



THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT. 293 



§ 9. The Morality of Slavery Vindicated by its Itesidts. 

To deny the mischievous effects of emancipation upon 
the Africans themselves, requires an amount of impu- 
dence which even abolitionists seldom possess. The 
experience of Britain has demonstrated, to the satisfac- 
tion of all her practical statesmen, that freedom among- 
the whites is ruinous to the blacks. They tell us of the 
vast decline in the productiveness of their finest colo- . 
nies, of the lapsing of fruitful plantations into the bush, 
of the return of the slaves, lately an industrious and use- 
ful peasantry, to savage life, and of the imperative ne- 
cessity for Asiatic labour, to rescue their lands from a 
return to the wilderness. A comparison between the 
slaves of the South, and the freed negroes of the North, 
gives the same results. While the former were cheer- 
ful, healthy, progressive, industrious, and multiplying 
rapidly in numbers, the latter are declared by their 
white neighbours to be a social nuisance, depressed by 
indolence and poverty, decimated by hereditary diseases, 
and tending rapidly to extinction. 

"We argue hereupon, that it cannot be a moral duty to 
bestow upon the slave that which is nothing but an in- 
jury. It cannot be a sin to do to him that which uni- / 
formly and generally is found essential to his well-being 
in his present condition. We certainly are not required 
by a benevolent God to ruin him in order to do him jus- 
tice 1 No sober and practical mind can hold such an 
absurdity. Hence we may know, even in advance of 
examination, that the ethical premises, the theory of hu- 
man rights, which lead to such preposterous conclusions, 



294 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

must be false. To illustrate this argument, the humane 
effects of slavery upon the slave should be more fully 
exhibited. This we propose to attempt in another chap- 
ter. 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 295 



CHAPTEK VIII. 

ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 

We are not propagandists of slavery. The highest 
wish of Virginia with reference to it was, that now it 
had been fastened on her against her remonstrances by- 
others, she should be let alone to manage it as she 
judged the best : a right which had been solemnly 
pledged to her by her present aggressors. We had no 
desire to force it on others, or to predict its universal 
prevalence, as the best organization of society. But 
having claimed that the Word of God and publick 
justice authorize it, we admit that it is reasonable we 
should meet those who assert economical and social 
results of it so evil, as to render it in credible that a 
wise and benevolent Godshould sanction such a mischief. 
We hope to show that slavery, instead of being waste- 
ful, impoverishing, and mischievous, is so far useful 
and benevolent as to vindicate the divine wisdom in 
ordaining it, and to show that we were wisely content 
with our condition so far as this relation of labour and 
capital was concerned. 

We would also urge this preliminary remark : that 
the economical effects of American slavery have usually 
been argued from an amazingly unreasonable point of 
view. Our enemies persist in discussing it as an elec- 



296 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

tion to be made between a system of labour by chris- 
tianized, enlightened, free yeomen of the same race, on 
one hand; and a system of labour by African slaves on 
the other; as though the South had any such election in 
its power ! It was not a thing for us to decide, whether 
we should have these Africans, or civilized, free, white 
labour; the former were here; here, not by the choice of 
our forefathers, but forced upon us by the unprincipled 
cupidity of the slave-trading ancestors of the Aboli- 
tionists of Old and New England who now revile us ; 
forced upon us against the earnest protest of Virginia. 
Did Abolitionists ever propose a practical mode of 
removing them, and supplying their places, which would 
not inflict on both parties more mischief than slavery 
occasion ? They should have showed us some way to 
charm the four millions of Africans among us, away to 
some happy Utopia, where they might be more comfort- 
able than we made them; and to repair the shock 
caused by the abstraction of all this productive labour. 
Until they did this, the question was not whether it 
would be wisest for a legislator creating a totally new 
community, to form it like Scotland or New England ; 
or like Virginia. The true question was, these Africans 
being here, and there being no humane or practicable 
way to remove them, what shall be done with them ? 
If the social condition of Virginia exhibited points of 
inferiority in its system of labour, to that of its rivals, 
the true cause of the evil was to be sought in the 
presence of the Africans among us, not in his enslave- 
ment. We shall indeed assert, and prove, that these 
points of inferiority were wastly fewer and smaller than 
our enemies represent. But, we emphatically repeat, 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 297 

the source of the evils apparent in our industrial system 
was the presence among us of four millions of hetero- 
geneous pagan, uncivilized, indolent, and immoral 
people; and for that gigantic evil, slavery was, in part 
at least, the lawful, the potent, the beneficent remedy. 
Without this, who cannot see that such an incubus 
must have oppressed and blighted every interest of the 
country? Such an infusion must have tainted the 
sources of our prosperity. It would have been a curse 
sufficient to paralyze the industry, to corrupt the morals, 
and to crush the development of any people on earth, 
to have such a race spread abroad among- them like the 
frogs of Egypt. And that the South not only delivered 
itself from this fate,- but civilized and christianized this 
people, making them the most prosperous and comfort- 
ble peasantry in the world, developed a magnificent 
agriculture, and kept pace with the progress of its 
gigantic rival, attests at once the energy of our people, 
and the wisdom and righteousness of the expedient by 
which all this has been accomplished. 

§ 1, Slavery and Republican Government. 

Intelligent men at the South found something to 
reconcile them to their condition, in the wholesome 
influence of their form of labour, upon their republican 
institutions. The effect of slavery to make the temper 
of the ruling caste more honourable, self-governed, 
reflective, courteous, and chivalrous, and to foster in 
them an intense love of, and pride in, their free institu- 
tions, has been already asserted, and substantiated by 
resistless facts. The testimony of these facts is con- 
current with that of all history. But those qualities 



298 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

are just the ones which fit a people for beneficent self- 
government. Again: our system disposed, at one potent 
touch, of that great difificulty which has beset all free 
governments : the difficulty of either entrusting the full 
franchises of the ruling caste to, or refusing them to, 
the moneyless class. The Word of God tells us that 
the poor shall always be with us. Natural differences 
of capacity, energy, and thrift, will always cause one 
part to distance the other part of the society, in the 
race of acquisition ; and the older and denser any 
population becomes, the larger will be the penniless 
class, and the more complete their destitution as com- 
pared with the moneyed class. Shall they be refused 
all participation in the suffrage and powers of govern- 
ment? Then, by w4iat means shall the constitution 
make them secure against the iniquities of class-legis- 
lation, which wickedly and selfishly sacrifices their 
interests and rights to the ruling class ? And yet more : 
by what argument can they be rendered content in their 
political disfranchisement, when they are of the same 
race, colour, and class, with their unauthorized oppres- 
sors, save as money makes an artificial distinction? 
The perpetual throes and reluctations of the oppressed 
class against the oppressors, will agitate and endanger 
any free government ; as witness the strifes of the 
conservative and radical parties in England, and the 
slumbering eruptions which the ideas of the democrats 
of 1848 have kindled under every throne in Western 
Europe. But on the other hand, if the full franchises of 
the ruling class be conceded to the moneyless citizens, 
they seize the balance of power, and virtually hold the 
reins over the riglits, property, and lives of the moneyed 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 299 

classes. But the qualities which have made them con- 
tinue penniless in a liberal government, together with 
the pressure of immediate hardship, destitution, igno- 
rance and passion, will ever render them most unsafe 
hands to hold this power. The man who has "the wolf 
at his door," who knows not where to-morrow's dinner 
for his wife and babes is to be obtained, is no safe man 
to be entrusted with power over ethers' property, and 
submitted to all the arts and fiery passions of the 
demagogue. The inevitable result will be, that his 
passions will drive him, under the pressure of his desti- 
tution, to some of those forms of agrarianism or legis- 
lative plunder, by which order and economical prosper- 
ity are blighted ; and society is compelled, like demo- 
cratic France and New England, to take refuge from 
returning anarchy and barbarism, in the despotism of a 
single will. This truth cannot be more justly stated 
than in the language of Lord Macaulay, himself once 
an ardent advocate of British Reform. If the demo- 
cratic States of America seemed, for a time, to offer an 
exception to these tendencies, it proves nothing; for in 
those States, the intense demand for labour, the cheap- 
ness of a virgin soil, and the rapid growth of a new and 
sparse population, rendered the working of the law, for 
a time, imperceptible. But even there, it had begun to 
work with a portentous power. Witness the violence 
and frightful mutations of their parties, the loathsome 
prevalence of demagogueism, and the great party of free- 
soil, which is but a form of agrarianism reaching out 
its plundering hand against the property class across 
Mason's and Dixon's ' lines, instead of the property 
class at home. So completely had the danger we have 



300 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

described been verified, even in these new and pros- 
perous communities, that the moment a serious strain 
came upon their institutions, the will of the mob burst 
over constitutions and publick ethics like a deluge, and 
the pretended republicks rushed into a centralized des- 
potism, with a speed and force which astounded the 
world. All the pleas of universal suffrage have received 
a damning and final refutation, from the events of this 
revolution. 

But the solution which Southern institutions gave to 
this great dilemma of republicks was happy and potent. 
The moneyless labouring class was wholly disfranchised 
of political powers, and thus disarmed of its powers of 
mischief. Yet this was effected without injustice to them, 
or cruelty ; because they were at the same time made 
parts of the families of the ruling class; and ensured an 
active protection and competent maintenance, by law, 
and by motives of alfection and self-interest in the mas- 
ters ; which experience proved to be more beneficent in 
practice to the labouring class, than any political expe- 
dient of free countries. The tendency of our African 
slavery was to diminish, at the same time, the num- 
bers and destitution of the class of white monejdess 
men, so as to render them a harmless element in the 
State. It did this by making for them a wider variety 
of lucrative industrial pursuits ; by making acquisition 
easier for white people; by increasing the total of prop- 
erty, that is to say, of values held as property, vastly, 
through the addition of the labour of the Africans, and 
by diffusing a general plenty and prosperity. Wo very 
well know that anti-slavery men are accustomed to 
assert the contrary of all this : but we know also, that 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 301 

they affirm that whereof they know nothing. The cen- 
sus returus of the anti-slavery government of the United 
States itself stubbornly i-efute them ; showing that the 
number and average wealth of the property classes at 
the South were relatively larger, and that white pauper- 
ism and destitution were relatively vastly smaller, than 
at the North. But the violent abolition of slavery here 
has exploded into thin air every sophism by which it has 
been argued that it was adverse to the interests of the 
non-slaveholding whites. The latter have been taught 
by a hard experience, to know, with a painful complete- 
ness of conviction before which the old anti-slavery 
arguments appear insolent and mocking madness, that 
they are more injured than the slaveholders. They see, 
that while the late masters are reduced from country 
gentlemen to yeomen landholders, they aYe reduced from 
a thrifty, reputable middle class, to starving competitors 
for day labour with still more starving free negroes. 
The honest abolitionist (if there is such a thing) needs 
only to take the bitter testimony of the non-slavehold- 
ing whites of the South, to unlearn forever this part of 
his theory. Thus did African slavery among us solve 
this hard problem ; and place before us a hopeful pros- 
pect of a long career of freedom and stability. 

The comparative history of the fi'ee and slave-holding 
commonwealths of the late United States substantiates 
every word of the above. The South, as a section, has 
never, from the foundation of the government, com- 
mitted itself to any project of unrighteous class legis- 
lation, such as tariffs, sectional bounties, or agrarian 
plunderings of the public domain. The North has been 
perpetually studying such attempts. The South has 



302 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

ever been remarked, (and strange to say, often twitted,) 
for the stability and consistency of its political parties. 
The Northern. States have been " all things by turns, 
and nothing long," save that they have been ever steady 
in their devotion to their plans of legislative plunder. The 
South has been a stranger to mobs, rebellions, and fanati- 
cism. When, for instance, the wicked crotchet of Know- 
nothingism was invented, it seized the brains of the 
North like an infection. It carried all before it until it 
came to Virginia, the first of the Southern States which it 
essayed to enter, when the old Commonwealth quietly 
arose and placed her foot upon its neck, and the mon- 
ster expired at once. From the day Virginia cast her 
vote against it, it never gained another victory, either 
North or South. But the crowning evidence of the su- 
perior stability of our freedom was presented during the 
recent war. While its stress npon Northern institu- 
tions crushed them at once into a pure despotism, the 
South sustained the tremendous ordeal with the com- 
bined energy of a monarchy and the equity of a liberal 
republick. There was no mob law ; no terrorizing of 
dissentients, no intimidations at elections, nor meddling 
with their purity and freedom, no infringement of rights 
by class legislation, no riots nor mobs, save one or two 
small essays generated by foreigners, and no general 
suspension of the Habeas Corptcs, until the pressure of 
the war had virtually converted the whole country into 
a camp : and this, even then, was only enacted by the 
constitutional authority of the Congi'ess. The liberty of 
the press and of religion was untouched during the 
whole struggle. Let the contrast be now drawn. Sliall 
the tree be known by its fruits? 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 303 

We believe, therefore, that we have no cause, in this 
respect, to lament the condition which Providence had 
assigned us, in placing this African Race among us. 
We do not envy the political condition of our de- 
tractors, Yankee and British radicals ; of the former 
with their colluvies gentium, the oflf-scouring of all the 
ignorance and discontent of Europe, and their frantic 
agrarianism, which will turn, so soon as it 'has ex- 
hausted its expected prey from the homesteads of South- 
ern planters, to ravage at home ; and of the latter, with 
their disorganizing theories of human right, subversive 
of every bulwark of the time-honored British Constitu- 
tion, and their increasing mass of turbulent pauperism. 

§ 2. Slavery and Malthusianism. 

Taking mankind as they are, and not as we may de- 
sire them to be, domestic slavery offered the best rela- 
tion which has yet been found, between labour and 
capital. It is not asserted that it would be best for a 
Utopia, where we might imagine the humblest citizen 
virtuous, intelligent, and provident. But there are no 
such societies on earth. The business of the legislator, 
whether human or divine, is with mankind as they are ; 
and while be adapts his institutions to their defects, so 
as to avoid making them impracticable or mischievous, 
he should also shape them to elevate and reform as far 
as possible. The legislator, therefore, in devising a 
frame of society, should adapt it to a state in which 
the rich are selfish and the poor indolent and improvi- '" 
dent. For, after all that has been boasted of human im- 
provement, this is usually man's condition. Now, in 
adjusting social institutions, it is all-important to secure 



304: A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

physical comfort ; because in a state of phj'sical misery 
and degradation, moral and intellectual improvement 
are hopeless ; and the business of the legislator is more 
especially to take care of the weak : the strong will 
take care of themselves. Property is the chief element 
of political strength ; it is this which gives to indi- 
viduals power in society ; for " money answereth all 
things ;" it commands for its possessor whatever he 
needs for his physical comfort and safety. The great 
desideratum in all benign legislation is to sustain the 
class which has no property, against the social depres- 
sion and physical suffering to which they always tend. 
That there will always be such a class, at least till the 
millennium, is certain, for reasons already stated. Now 
all civilized communities exhibit a natural law which 
tends to depress the physical condition of those who 
have no property, who are, usually, the laboring classes. 
That law is the tendency of population to increase. 
The area of a country grows no larger, while the num- 
ber of people in it is perpetually increasing, unless that 
tendency is already arrested by extreme physical evils. 
The same acres have, therefore, more and more mouths 
to feed, and backs to clothe. Consequently, each person 
must receive a smaller and smaller share of the total 
proceeds of the earth. The demand perpetually in- 
creases in proportion to the supply ; and therefore the 
price of those productions rises, as compared with the 
price of labour. Hence in every flourishing community, 
the relative proportion between the price of land, its 
rents, and the food and clothing which it produces, on 
the one hand, and the price of manual labour on the 
other, is perpetually, though slowly, changing. The 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 305 

former rises, the latter sinks. Improvements in agri- 
culture and the arts, extensive conquests, emigrations, 
or some other cause, may for a time arrest, or even re- 
verse, this process ; but such is the general law, and 
the constant tendency. The very prosperity and growth 
of the community work this result. The owners of land 
become richer : those who live by labour become poorer. 
Physical depression works moral depression, and these 
overcrowded and under-fed labourers, becoming more 
reckless, are familiarized with a lower standard of com- 
fort, and continue to increase. This law has wrought 
in every growing nation on the globe which is without 
domestic slavery. It is felt in Great Britain, in spite of 
her vast colonies, where she has disgorged her super- 
fluous mouths and hands, to occupy and feed them on 
virgin soils : in spite of her conquests; which have cen- 
tred in her lap the wealth of continents. It has begun 
to work in the Northern States of America, notwith- 
standing the development of the arts, and the proximity 
of the Great West. Every where it reduces the quan- 
tity or quality of food and raiment which a day's labour 
will earn, and perpetually tends to approximate that 
lowest grade at which the labouring classes can vege- 
tate, multiply, and toil. 

What, now, is the remedy? Not agrarianism : this 
could only aggravate the evil by taking away the in- 
centive to effort, in making its rewards insecure. Not 
conquest of new territory: the world is now all oc- 
cupied ; and conquest from our neighbours is unjust. 
We found the remedy in the much-abused institution of 
domestic slavery. It simply ended this na-tural, this 
universal strife between capital and labour, by making 



306 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

labour the property of capital, and thus investing it 
with an unfailing claim upon its fair share in the joint 
products of the two. The manner-in which slavery 
effects this is plain. Where labour is free, competition 
reduces its price to whatever grade the laws of trade 
may fix ; for labour is then a mere commodity in the 
market, unprotected, and subject to all the laws of de- 
mand and supply. The owner of land or capital pays 
for the labour he needs, in the shape of wages, just the 
price fixed by the relation of supply and demand ; and 
if that price implies the severest privation for the la- 
bourer or his family, it is no concern of his. Should 
they perish by the inadequacy of the#remuneration, it 
is not his loss: he has but to hire others from the 
anxious and competing multitude. Moreover, the ties 
of compassion and charity are vastly weaker than 
under our system ; for that suffering labourer and his 
family are no more to that capitalist, than any other 
among the sons of want. But when we make the la- 
bour the property of the same persons to whom the land 
and capital belong, self-interest inevitably impels them 
to share with the labourer liberally enough to preserve 
his life and efiiciency, bec&use the labour is also, in tne 
language of Moses, "theii money," and if it suffers, 
they are the losers. By this arrangement also, a 
special tie and bond of sympathy are established be 
tween the capitalist and his labourers. They are mem- 
bers of his family. They not only work, but live, on 
his premises. A disregard of their wants and destitu- 
tion is tenfold more glaring, more difficult to per- 
petrate, and more promptly avenged by his own con- 
science and public opinion. The bond of domestic 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 307 

affection ensures to the labourer a comfortable share of 
the fruits of that capital which his labour fecundates. 
And the law is enabled to make the employer directly 
responsible for the welfare of the employed. Thus, 
by tliis simple and potent expedient, slavery solved the 
difficulty, and answered the question raised by the 
gloomy speculations of Malthus, at whom all anti- 
slavery philosophers have only been able to rail, while 
equally impotent to overthrow his premises, or to 
arrest the evils he predicts. 

Slavery also presented us with a simple and per- 
fectly efficient preventive of pauperism. The law, 
public opinion, and natural affection, all joined in com- 
pelling each master to support Iris own sick and super- 
annuated. And the elevation of the free white la- 
bourers, which results from slavery, by placing another 
labouring class below them, by assigning to them higher 
and more remunerative kinds of labour, and by diffus- 
ing a more general prosperity, reduced white pauperism 
to the smallest possible amount amongst us. In a Vir- 
ginian slaveholding county, the financial burden of 
white pauperism was almost inappreciable. Thus, at 
one touch, our system solved happily, mercifully, justly, 
the Gordian knot of pauperism, a subject which has 
completely baffled British wisdom. 

The attempt may be made to evade these considera- 
tions, by saying that the same law of increase in popu- 
lation will at length operate, in spite of slavery; and 
that its depressing effects will reveal themselves in 
this form : that the labouring class will become so nu- 
merous, the same alteration between demand and sup- 
ply of labour will appear, and the slave's labour will 



308 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

be worth no more than his maintenance, when he will 
cease to sell for any thing. At this stage, it may be 
urged, self-interest will surely prompt emancipation, 
and the whole slave system will fall before the evil 
which it was expected to counteract. 

To this there are several answers. The argument 
implies that the slaves will be, at that stage, relatively 
very numerous. Then, the political difficulties of eman- 
cipation would be proportionably great. The political 
necessity would overrule the economical tendency, and 
compel the continuance of the beneficent institution. 
And while it subsisted, the tie of domestic afiection, and 
the force of law and public opinion, would still secui'e 
for slaves a better share in the joint profits of labour 
and capital, than would be granted to depressed free 
labour. This was the case in the Koman Empire, 
where the population of Italy and Sicily was for 
several centuries as dense as in those modern States 
where the Malthusian law has worked most deplorably: 
and yet slavery did not yield, and emancipation did 
not follow. 

But the more complete answer is as follows. We 
will attempt now to point out an influence which en- 
abled domestic slavery to resist and repair the evils of 
over-population, vastly better than any other form of 
labour. As population increases, the size of fortunes 
which are accumulated increases. Instances of accu- 
mulation are more numerous and far more excessive. 
Density of population, facility of large industrial opera- 
tions, concentration of number of labourers, with other 
causes, ensure that rich men will be vastly richer than 
while population was sparse ; and that there will be 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 309 

many more rich men. While a few of these will be 
misers, as a general rule they will seek to expend their 
overflowing incomes. But as man's real wants lie 
within very narrow limits, and the actual necessaries 
and comforts of life are cheap, the larger part of these 
overgrown incomes must be spent in superfluities. 
The money of the many excessively rich men is pro- 
fusely spent in expensive jewelry, clothing, equipage, 
ostentatious architecture, useless menials, fine arts, 
and a thousand similar luxuries. Now the production 
of all these superfluities absorbs a vast amount of the 
national labour, and thus diminishes greatly the pro- 
duction of those values which satisfy real wants. A 
multitude of the labourers are seduced from the pro- 
duction of those more essential values, by the higher 
prices which luxury and pride are enabled to pay for 
their objects. Now, although the manufacturers of these 
superfluities may, individually, secure a better live- 
lihood than those laborers who produce the necessaries 
of life, yet the result of the withdrawal of so many pro- 
ducing hands is, that the total amount of necessaries 
produced in the nation is much smaller. There is, 
then, a less mass of the necessaries of life to divide 
among the whole number of the citizens ; and some peo- 
ple must draw a smaller share from the common stock. 
Every sensible man knows that these will be the land- 
less, labouring men. ' The wealth of the rich will, of 
course, enable them to engross a liberal supply for 
their own wants, however scant may be that left for 
the poor. The ability to expend in superfluities is, 
therefore, a misdirection of just so much of the pro- 
ductive labour of the country, from the creation of 



310 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

essential values, to the producing of that which fills no 
hungry stomach, clothes no naked back, and relieves 
no actual, bodily want. And here, after all, is the 
chief cause why the Malthusian law is found a true 
and efficient one in civilized communities. For, were 
the increasing labour of a growing nation wisely and 
beneficiently directed to draw from Ihe soil and from 
nature all that they can be made to yield, their fe- 
cundity would be found to be practically so unlimited, 
that the means of existence would keep pace with the 
increase of population, to almost any extent. The 
operative cause of the growing depression of the poor 
is, not that the same acres arc compelled to feed more 
mouths, and clothe more backs, so much as this : that 
the inducements which excessive wealth gives to the 
production of superfluities, misdirects so much precious 
labour, that the fruitfulness of those acres is not made 
to increase with the increase of mouths. This is 
proved by the simple fact, that in all the old 'countries 
the misery of the lowest classes tends to keep pace with 
the luxury of the highest. It is proved emphatically 
by the industrial condition of Gk'cat Britain. There is 
no country in which production is so active ; none in 
which agriculture and the arts are more stimulated by 
science and intelligence ; and yet there is a growing 
mass of destitution, yearly approaching more frightful 
dimensions, and testing the endurance of human na- 
ture by lower grades of physical discomfort. The 
reason is not to be sought in her limited territory or 
crowded population ; for if the British Islands have 
not acres enough to grow their own bread for so many, 
why is it that so productive a people are not able to 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 311 

pay for abundance of imported bread ? It is to bo 
found in the existence of their vast incomes, and the 
excessive luxury practised by the numerous rich. 
True, these magnates excuse their vast expenditures in 
superfluities by the plea, that one of the motives is the 
"encouragement of industry." But they effect, as we 
have seen, not an encouragement, but a misdirection of 
industry. The reason why so many British poor have 
a scanty share of physical comforts is, that there are 
so many British rich men who, by their lavish expend- 
iture, tempt and seduce so large a multitude of pro- 
ducing hands from the creation of actual comforts to 
the creation of superfluities. 

AVhat safe remedy can the legislator propose for this 
evil ? Not a violent, agrarian leveling of the larger 
estates. That, as we have shown, would be wicked 
and foolish. Nor can it be found in sumptuary laws. 
The world has tried them to ita heart's content, and 
found them impracticable. It is true, that their adop- 
tion showed how clear a perception the ancients had of 
one truth, which modern political science pretends to 
ignore. That truth is, that luxury is a- social evil. We 
have shown that it is as wasteful of social wealth as it 
is of morals. The ancients thought thus, and they 
were i-ight. Legislators now-a-days, in exploding their 
remedy as no remedy, seem to desire to cheat them- 
selves into the belief that the disease is no disease. 
But the ancients were not as stupid as men imagine. 

Now, we do not boast that we can offer a perfect 
remedy. But our system of labour certainly gave us a 
partial one of inestimable value. Where the rich man 
is a citizen of a hireling State, his accumulated wealth 



312 A DEFENCE OP VIRGINIA. 

and profuse income are all spent in superfluities, ex- 
cept the small portion needed for the comforts of life 
for his own family. But when he is a citizen of a 
slave State, they are first taxed with the comfortable 
support of his slaves. The law, public opinion, affec- 
tion for them, and self-interest, all compel him to make 
the first appropriation out of that profuse income, to 
feeding and clothing his slaves, before he proceeds to 
superfluities. Thus, the proceeds of the accumulations 
which dense population and social prosperity cause, are 
rescued from a useless and mischievous expenditure in 
those luxuries, the purchase of which misdirects public 
industry, and tempts to a deficient production of the 
necessaries of life; and are directed where benev*- 
" lence, mercy, and the public good indicate, to the com- 
fortable maintenance of the labouring people. That 
this is the effect of domestic slavery on the incomes of 
the rich, is proved by one familiar fact. It is well 
known at the South how slaveholders usually murmured 
when comparing their style of living with that of capi- 
talists in the hireling States of equal nominal wealth. 
The planter Avho owned fifty thousand dollars worth of 
fertile lands, and a hundred slaves, while he lived in 
far more substantial comfort and plenty, displayed in 
Virginia far less ostentation and luxury than the mer- 
chant or manufacturer of the North who owns the same 
amount of capital. His house was plainly furnished 
with the old-fashioned goods of his fathers ; his family 
rode in a plaijj carriage, drawn by a pair of stout nags 
which, probably, either did a fair share of ploughing 
also, or drew a large part of the fuel for the household. 
He himself was dressed partly in "jeans," woven under 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 313 

the superintendence of his wife ; and his boys were at 
school in a log house, with homespun clothing, and, in 
summer, bare feet. It was not unusual to hear the 
slaveholder, when he considered this contrast, complain 
of slavery as a bad institution for the master. But this 
was its meixiful feature, that it in some measure ar- 
rested superfluous luxury, and taxed superfluous income 
with the more comfortable support of the labourers. In 
a hireling State, these might be left half-starved on the 
inadequate compensation which the hard law of supply 
and demand in the labour-market would compel them 
to accept, while the capitalist was rioting in a mis- 
chievous waste of the overgrown profits of his capital. 

The question of the productiveness of slave labour 
may be anticipated, so far as to point out the fact, that 
this benevolent diversion of the large incomes from 
luxurious expenditures to the comfortable maintenance 
of the slaves, was a diversion from unproductive to 
productive consumption. The slaves were a productive 
class ; and the increased comfort of their living added 
greatly to their increase, and their ability to labour. 
No student of political economy need be told how pow- 
erfully national wealth is promoted by any cause which 
substitutes productive consumption for unproductive. 

The truth of these views is confirmed by this fact, 
which is attested by all experienced slaveholders : that 
the slaves throughout the South lived in far more com- 
fort than they did a generation ago. And this is truest 
of those Southern communities where population is 
densest, and the price and rents of land are highest. 
As these influences, elsewhere so depressing to the 
poor, advanced, the standard of comfort for our slaves 
. 14 



314 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

rose rapidly, instead of falling. How can a more 
splendid vindication of the benevolence of our system 
be imagined? Our slaves generally ate more meat, 
wore more and better clothing, and lived in better 
houses, than their fathers did. 

That a palpable view may be given, to those who are 
not personally acquainted with our system, of its true 
working, the reader's indulgence will be asked for the 
statement of a few homely details. In Virginia, all 
slaves, without exception, had their own private fvinds, 
derived from their poultry, gardens, " patches," or the 
prosecution of some mechanic art, in what is termed 
"their own time." These funds they expended as they 
pleased, in Sunday-clothing, or in such additions to 
their diet and comfort as they liked. The allowances 
which we proceed to state, are strictly those which the 
master usually made out of his funds. The allowances 
fixed by usag^in this State were generally these : for 
clothing of adults, one complete suit of stout woolens, 
two pair pantaloons of cotton or flax, two shirts, two 
pair of worsted half-hose, and a hat and a blanket, each 
year. For shoes, the old rule was, one pair each win- 
ter, of the quality of best army shoes or boots, to be 
replaced at harvest with new ones, in the case of 
ploughmen and reapers, while the "less able-bodied 
hands" only got their old shoes repaired. But in latter 
years, the prevalent custom had come to be, to issue 
shoes to all adults, as often as is required, to keep them 
shod throughout the year ; while the children were uni- 
versally shod during the winter only. 

For diet, the slaves shared jointly the garden-stuff, 
fruits and milk of the master's plantation and garden. 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 315 

But their essential and preferred food was a certain 
daily or weekly allowance of corn meal and bacon, 
issued in addition to the above. The common rule in 
Virginia, where these were given in the form of rations, 
was to allow each adult a half-pound of bacon, and two 
quarts of meal per day. The meal of Indian corn, when 
uninjured by the mustiness of a sea- voyage, and prop- 
erly baked at a bright wood-fire, is an excellent and 
nutritious food, as is shown by the fact that it fills 
more than an equal place with bread of wheat, on the 
tables of the richest planters. In many other families, 
the allowance of meal was unlimited ; and the bacon 
was not issued in formal rations, the servants living at 
a common board. The supply laid in was then usually 
according to the following rule : one hundred and fifty 
pounds of pork per year, for every soul, white and 
black. When it is remembered that the sucklings and 
the white females used almost none of this supply, a 
simple calculation will show that it is equivalent to at 
least a half-pound per day for each adult. Such were 
the customarj^ usages in Virginia. There were prob- 
ably as many cases where the above rules were ex- 
ceeded, as where the allowances fell below them. In 
the new States of the South West, where agriculture is 
gtill more profitable, it is said that the allowances were 
more liberal than in the old slave States. 

It happens that the census returns of the United 
States for 1860, published by our enemies themselves, 
more than confii-m this view of the abundant and com- 
fortable living of our labouring population. According 
to those returns the free States had in 1860, not quite 
nineteen millions of people, and the slave States twelve 



316 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and a quarter millions. Of the cereals used by Ameri- 
cans for human food, the free States raised five hundred 
and sixty*one millions bushels ; and the slave States 
four hundred and ninety-four millions bushels. That is, 
while the people of the free States had about thirty 
bushels each of these cereals, those of the slave States 
had forty-one bushels per head. Moreaver, the North 
boasts that breadstuifs are her great export crops, while 
cotton and tobacco were ours. Our people, including 
our slaves, must therefore have used more than four 
bushels each, to their three. In neither country does 
each person eat either thirty or forty-one bushels per 
year ; because horses and other live stock eat a part, 
which it is impossible accurately to estimate. Again : of 
the animals used for human food, (horned cattle, sheep, 
and swine,) the free States had abont forty millions, or a 
little more than two per heard to each inhabitant ; while 
the slave States had forty and a half millions, or about 
three and a half to each inhabitant. But as bacon or 
pork is the flesh most commonly consumed by Ameri- 
cans, and especially by farm labourers, the proportion 
of swine is still more significant. The free States had 
not quite twelve millions' of swine, and the slave States 
twenty millions six hundred thousand. This gives a 
•little more than six-tenths of one swine to each inhabit- 
ant of the North, and ojie and seven-tenths to each in- 
habitant of the South. But this is not all, — for the 
North (especially the prairie States) exported vast 
quantities of the flesh of swine to the South, while the 
slave States exported none to the North. It should in 
justice be said, that the disparity is not so enor- 
mous as would thus appear, because the swine reared 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 317 

in the South arc usually smaller than those of the 
North. 

§ 3. Comparative productiveness of Slave Labour. 

From the days of Adam Smith, anti-slavery men have 
been pleased to consider it as a point perfectly settled, 
that slave labour is comparatively unfavourable to pro- 
duction, and thus, to publick wealth. So settled is this 
conviction among the enemies, and so often has it been 
admitted by the apologists of our system, it will prob- 
ably be hard to secure even a hearing, while we review 
the grounds on which the common opinion is based. 
One would think that the fact that those grounds have 
usually been urged by men who, like Adam Smith, knew 
nothing of slavery themselves, should bespeak for us at 
least a little patience and candour. 

One of those grounds is, that slavery, by making 
manual labour the peculiar lot of a servile class, ren- 
ders it disreputable. This, they suppose, together with 
the exemption from the law of necessity, fosters indo- 
lence in the masters. But, we reply, is manual labour 
the peculiar lot of the servile class alone, in slave 
States ? Is not this the very question to be settled ? 
Yet it is assumed as the premise from which to settle 
it. So that the reasoning amounts to no more than 
this ridiculous petitio principii: "Because the slaves 
do all the work, therefore the masters do none of the 
work." This should be made a question of fact. And 
we emphatically deny that Southern masters were an 
indoleht class, as compared with the moneyed classes 
elsewhere. In fact, the general rule is that rich men 
do not work, the world over. It was less true, prob- 



318 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

ably, in Virginia, than in any other commonwealth. 
The wealthy man of the North, with his grown sons, is 
more indolent, and more a fine gentleman, than the 
wealthy slaveholder. If it be said that, in free States, 
a multitude of small farmers cultivate their lands with 
their own hands, it is equally true that a multitude of 
small planters in the South, who owned one, three or 
five slaves, laboured along with them. That the land 
shall be owned by the very persons who cultivate it, is 
an exceptional condition of things, resulting, to some 
extent in New England, from a very peculiar history, 
origin and condition of society, and not destined to 
continue general even there. It is as true of hireling 
as of slave States, that the tendency of civilized insti- 
tutions is, and ever has been, and ever will be, gener- 
ally, to collect the lands in larger properties, in the 
hands of a richer class than that which actually tills 
them. Nor is there one syllable of truth in the idea, 
that labour was among us more disreputable, because 
usually done by slaves. In all countries, there is fool- 
ish pride, and importance is attached, by the silly, to 
empty badges of station. But it was less so among 
slaveholders than among the rich, or the would-be rich, 
of other countries. The reason is obvious. In free 
States there is just as truly a servile class, bearing the 
servile inferiority of social station, as among us. That 
class being white, and nominally free, its addiction to 
manual labour is the only badge of its social condition. 
Hence whites of the superior class have a far stronger 
motive, in their pride, to shun labour. But the white 
master could freely labour among his black servants, 
without danger of being mistaken by the transient ob- 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 319 

server for one of the class, bocause his skin distin- 
guished him : just as the man < f unquestioned wealth 
and fashion can wear a plain coat^ which would be 
shunned as the plague, by the doubtful aspirant to ton. 
"We repeat : the planters of Virginia were more often 
seen performing, not only the labours of superintend- 
ence, but actual manual labour, than any wealthy class 
in America. They were proverbial for perseverance 
and energy. There is a fact which bears a peculiar 
testimony to this. While Yankee adventurers and im- 
migrants have intruded themselves into every other 
calling among \is, like the frogs into the Egyptian 
houses and their very chambers and kneading-troughs, 
those of them who have attempted to act the tobacco 
planter have, in almost every case, failed utterly. They 
lack the requisite energy for the calling. 

Another reason of the anti-slavery man is, that the 
free labourer, stimulated by personal interest in his 
own success, must be more thrifty, industrious, and 
economical than the slave, who is stimulated only by 
fear. We reply: both the premises are absolutely 
false. Slaves were not stimulated only by fear. They 
felt at least as much affection as the Red Republican 
or Chartist hireling. They comprehended their own in- 
terest in their master's prosperity as fully as hired la- 
bourers do. But, in the second place, the labour of free 
States is not usually performed by men who have a per- 
sonal interest in their own success : it is performed, in 
the main, by a landless class, who are as very hirelings 
as our slaves were slaves ; who need just as much the 
eye of an overseer, and who must be pricked on in their 
labour, at least as often, by the threat, not of the birch, 



320 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

but of the more cruel loenalty of discharg-e ; which they 
know is their dismissal to starvation or the work-house. 
This delusive reasoning proceeds by comparing the 
yeoman landholder in fee-simple, tilling his own soil 
with his own hands, with the slave tilling the land of 
his wealthy master. But are the lands of hireling 
States prevalently tilled by their yeomen owners ? Is 
this the system to which free society tends ? The Eng- 
lishman will not dare to say so, when ho looks around 
him, and sees how rapidly the small holdings have been 
swallowed up into larger farms, which are now worked 
by capitalists with organized gangs of hirelings ; nor 
the Scotchman, with the sight of an old tenant peas- 
antry swept away before the ruthless Bothy-system of 
his country. And, as we have asserted, the class of yeo- 
men landholders, labouring personally among their few 
slaves, was at least as large, and as permanent in the 
South, as in any civilized country. 

Here again, the actual experiment of abglitioa has 
ridiculously exploded all these baseless reasonings for 
the superior zeal of the white free labourer, and the 
thriftless eye-service of the slave. All intelligent men 
knew before that they were precisely contrary to fact ; 
for they saw all hireling labour at the North obviously 
required a supervision much more constant and strin- 
gent, to prevent the hirelings from bringing the em- 
ployers to bankruptcy by their worthless ej'e-scrvice, 
than the labour of our own merry and affectionate ser- 
vants. If the white hireling labour was aggregated in 
masses, we uniformly saw it^ distributed in gangs, to 
sturdy " bosses," who stood with their formidable 
bludgeons in their hands, from morning to night, with 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 321 

just fourfold the persistency of any Southern " head- 
man'' or "overseer," and actually inflicted blows on his 
free white fellow-citizens, as frequently as our overseers 
on the servant children. If the white hireling labour 
was employed on their little farms, in small numbers, 
then the proprietors always informed us, that they must 
be present in the field all the time, to shame and en- 
courage them by their example, or else their " help" 
would cheat them to their ruin. But in the South, 
nothing was more common than to see estates farmed 
by the faithful slaves, for widows, orphans, professional 
men, or non-resident proprietors, without any other 
superintendence than an occasional visit. Now, all this 
is at an end. The labourers are free hirelings, who, 
according to the anti-slavery argument, should be so 
superior in enlightened zeal and fidelity. But lo, the 
Southern people have found that eye-service has thereby 
increased tenfold ; and if there is any lesson which the 
South has effectually learned in these two years, it is, 
that perpetual and jealous supervision is the sole condi- 
tion on which a meagre profit can be extracted from 
this wretched and grinding system ; and that else, the 
impositions of the hired labourers inevitably result in 
speedy bankruptcy. Hard fact has demonstrated that 
the truth is precisely opposite to the pretty postulates 
of the anti-slavery philosophers, so called. 

It was currently asserted that one free white labourer 
did as much work as two or three slaves ; and South- 
ern gentlemen used often to be heard assenting to it. 
But here the reader should be reminded of what has 
been already shown ; that if this industrial evil existed 
among us, that evil was not slavery, but the presence 
14* 



322 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

among' us of four millions of recent pagans, character- 
ized by all the listlessness, laziness, and unthrift of 
savages. Slavery did not make the intelligent and in- 
dustrious worthless ; nor does freedom turn the lazy 
barbarian into a civilized and diligent citizen. If there 
ever was any truth in this comparison of the efficiency 
of the African labourer with the free white, it doubtless 
existed when the former were newly brought into our 
country. The estimate then formed became tradition- 
ary, and prevailed after the partial training and civil- 
ization of the blacks had wholly removed its grounds. 
Several facts prove that no white agricultural labour 
was so efficient (especially under our ardent sun) as 
the Africans, had become. Of this, the ci'owning proof 
is, again, given us by the unfortunate experiences of 
actual abolition. Many Virginian proprietors, having 
still retained the old, but false prejudice, that the negro 
slave was a less efficient labourer than the white hire- 
ling, and being well assured that the labour of the 
slaves woulfl be deteriorated by emancipation, procured 
T^hite labour from the North. What was the result? 
An almost universal conviction that the freed negro, 
deteriorated as he was, proved still a better labourer 
than the white hireling ! Consequently, the importation 
of white labour is totally relinquished. Another of 
these facts is, that in Middle Virginia, where the best 
free labour in America exists, and was once almost ex- 
clusively used, the slave population was, up to the war, 
steadily supplanting it in agriculture ; and was more 
and more preferred by the most enlightened agricultu- 
rists. Another is, that the great contractors on our pub- 
lic works, many of them Northern men, who came to us 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 323 

provided with -white labour, gradually convinced them- 
selves that their works could be executed more cheaply, 
quickly, and quietly, by slaves. The third fact is, that 
along the line which separates Virginia and Pennsylva- 
nia, or Kentucky and Ohio, the lands immediately south 
of the line were more valuable than those immediately 
north of it. This is so well known that Senator Sum- 
ner, in his notorious libel on the South, admits its exist- 
ence, and endeavours to evade its force by the following 
preposterous solution. He says : freedom, by its prox- 
imity, infuses something of its own vigour, virtue, and 
life, into the adjoining Southern community ; so as to 
stimulate its prosperity ; whereas, the blighting slave- 
power contaminates and palsies freedom along the line 
of its contact, so as to make it exhibit less than its 
usual happy effects. That is, we are invited to believe 
that the indirect influence of free labour is so potent 
that it can go across Mason's and Dixon's line, or the 
Ohio River, into the midst of the very blight and curse 
of slavery, and act so happily as to raise the price of 
slave-tilled lands to eighty dollars per acre ; while its 
direct influences at home, on a soil uncursed with 
slavery, cannot sustain the price of exactly similar 
land at sixty dollars ! And we are required to believe 
that while the mere shadow of slaver^-, falling across 
the border, sinks the price of land, otherwise blessed 
with the most profitable system, to sixty dollars, the 
actual incubus of the horrid monster on a soil unre- 
deemed by the better system, raises it to eighty dollars ! 
Common sense shows us the true solution. Two farms 
divided only by the imaginary line of the surveyor, of 
course differ nothing in the natural advantages of soil, 



324 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

climate and productions. Wliy, then, did the Virginian 
farm sell for twenty dollars more per acre ? Because 
the owner could combine all the economy and efficiency 
of a system of slave labour, with the partial advan- 
tages of the system of free labour near him ; and thus 
make his farm more profitable than his Pennsylvanian 
neighbour. 

But we are told that actual inspection showed the 
labour of the South to be wasteful, shiftless, and expen- 
sive, as compared with the free labour of the North. 
We reply, if it seemed so in any case, it is because the 
comparison is unfairly made. On the Northern side, 
the specimen is selected near some great city, in some 
" crack farming district," wdiere the labour is stimulated 
by abundant capital, supplied with costly implements, 
and directed by the best skill of that section. On the 
Southern side, the specimen was taken from some ill- 
informed population, or some soil originally thin, and in 
a community depressed and depleted by the iniquitous 
taxation of Yankee tariffs. But let the best of each be 
compared ; or the medium specimens of each ; or the 
worst of each ; and we fearlessly abide the test. 
Where slave labour was directed by equal skill and 
capital, it is shown to be as efficient as any in America. 
There was nowhere on our continent, more beautiful, 
more economical, or more remunerative farming, than 
in our densest slaveholding communities. 

A third argument against the economy of slave la- 
bour, is thus stated by Dr. Wayland : " It removes 
from both parties, the disposition and the motives to 
frugality. Neither the master learns frugality from the 
necessity of labour, nor the slave from the benefits 
which it confers," etc. 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 325 

Now we emphatically and proudly admit that South- 
ern society has not learned the frugality of New Eng- 
land ; which is, among the middle classes, a mean, in- 
hospitable, grinding peniiriousness, sacrificing the very 
comfort of children, and the kindly cheer of the domes- 
tic board, to the Yankee j^f^^^oies, Mammon and Lucre ; 
and among theupper classes a union of domestic scanti- 
ness and stinginess with external ostentation and profu- 
sion ; a frugality which is " rich in the parlour, and poor 
in the kitchen." The idea of the Southern planter is the 
rational and prudent use of wealth to procure the solid 
comfort of himself, his children, and his servants at 
home, coupled with a simple and unostentatious equip- 
age abroad, and a generous hospitality to rich and poor. 
But we fearlessly assert, and will easily prove to every 
sensible reader, that slavery was peculiarly favourable to 
the economical application of labour, and of domestic 
supplies and income. The attempt to carry the free- 
hold tenure of land down to the yeomanry, subdivides 
land too much for economical farming. The holdings 
are too small, and the means of the proprietors too 
scanty, to enable them to use labour-saving machines, 
or to avail themselves of the vast advantages of com- 
bined labour. How can the present proprietor of a 
farm of five or ten acres in France or Belgium, afford a 
reaper, a threshing-machine, a three-horse plough, or 
even any plough at all ? The spade, the wheel-barrow, 
the donkey, and the flail, must do his work, at a waste- 
ful cost of time and toil. But the Southern system, 
by placing the labour of .many at the direction of one 
more cultivated mind, and that furnished with more 
abundant capital, secured the most liberal and enlight- 



326 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

ened employment of machines, and the most convenient 
" division of labour." Moreover, the administration of 
the means of living for the whole plantation, by the 
master and mistress, secured a great economy of sup- 
plies. The mistress of Southern households learns far 
more providence, judgment and method in administer- 
ing her stores, than are possessed by free labourers or 
by blacks. The world over, those who have property 
are more provident than those who have none. For, 
this providence is the chief reason why they have prop- 
erty ; and the improvidence of the poor is the cause of 
their being poor. But even if the slaveholders had no 
more of these qualities, all can see that an immense 
saving is made by having one housekeeper for ten 
families, with one kitchen, store-house, and laundry, in- 
stead of ten kitchens, ten store-houses, and ten vary- 
ing administrations of stores. A smaller supply of 
provisions secures a greater amount of comfort to all, 
and a great saving of labour is effected in preparation 
of food, and housekeeping cares. A system of slave 
labour is, therefore, more productive, because it is more 
economical. 

In all this argument, the anti-slavery men keep out 
of view a simple fact which is decisive of the absurdity 
of their position. They shall now be made to look it in 
the face. That fact is, that in free States, a large por- 
tion of all those who, from their moneyless condition, 
ought to pursue manual labour, are too lazy to do so 
voluntarily. But they must live, and they do it by 
some expedient which is a virtual preying on the means 
of the more industrious, by stealing, by begging, by 
some form of swindling, by perambulating the streets 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 327 

with a barrel-organ and monkey, or by vending toj-s or 
superfluities. Their labour is lost to the community ; 
and their maintenance, tog-ether with their dishonest 
arts and crimes, is a perpetual drain from the public 
wealth. But slaverj'- made the lazy do their part with 
the industrious, by. the wholesome fear of the birch. 
Slavery allowed no loafers, no swindlers, no " b'hoys," 
no "plug-uglies," no grinders of burd3'-gurdies, among 
her labouring class. Who does not see that, even if 
the average slave in Virginia did only two-thirds of the 
day's work accomplished by the industrious free la- 
bourer in New York, yet, if all the idle classes in that 
great commonwealth, together with those now industri- 
ous, were compelled to do just the tasks of the average 
Virginia slave, there would be, on the whole, a vast 
and manifold gain to the public? 

Another potent source of the economy of the slave 
system in its influences upon publick wealth, is found in 
a fact which Northern men not only admit, but assert 
with a foolish pride. It is the far greater development 
of the local traffic of merchants among them. When 
your down-East commercial traveller, whose only con- 
ception of productive industry was of some arts of 
" living by his wits," saw this contrast between North- 
ern and Southern villages and country neighbourhoods, 
he pointed to it with undoubting elation, as proof of the 
vastly euperior wealth and productive activity of the 
Noi'th. But in fact, he was a fool; he mistook what 
was a villainous, eating ulcer upon the public wealth of 
the North, and on the true prosperity of the people, for 
a spring of profits. In a farming neighbourhood of the 
hireling States, he saw at every hamlet and cross-road, 



328 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

pretentious shingle-palaces, occupied as large stoi*es, 
where great accumulations of farm produce were pa- 
raded ; sacks of meal, barrels of fioui', bins of corn, 
packs of wool, garners of wheat, tubs of eggs, cans of 
butter, hogsheads of bacon, and even kegs of home-, 
made soap, together with no little show of cheap finer3\ 
In the farming districts of the South, he rode along a 
quiet, shady road, with the country-scats of the planters 
reposing at a distance, in the bosoms of their estates ; 
and found at long intervals a little country store, where 
a few groceries, medicines, and cloths were exposed for 
sale to sparse customers. Now this narrow trafficker, 
whose only heaven was buying and selling, very natu- 
rally jumped to the conclusion, that the South was so 
much poorer than the North, as she exhibited less local 
trade. Whereas in fact, she was just so much richer. 
And this unpopular assertion is, still, perfectly easy to 
demonstrate. The necessary labour of distributing com- 
modities from producers to consumers, is a legitimate 
element of that fair market value, which they have when 
they finally reach the hand which consumes them. But 
political economists well know, and uniformly teach, that 
if any unnecessary middle-men interpose themselves be- 
tween first producer and ultimate consumer, whose la- 
bour is not truly promotive of the economical distribu- 
tion of commodities, then their industry is misdirected, 
the wages they draw for it in the shape of increased 
price of commodities passed through their hands is un- 
productive consumption, and they are a useless, a mis- 
chievous drain upon the common wealth. For instance, 
if a class of middle-men, retailers, or forwarding mer- 
chants, juggle themselves unnecessarily into the import- 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 329 

ing- dry-goods trade of the eountiy ; if they place them- 
selves between the manufacturer in England, and the 
consumer in rural New York, grasping wages for tlieir 
intervention, in the shape of an additional profit which 
falls ultimately upon the retail purchaser ; while yet 
they really contribute nothing to the economical distri- 
bution of the dry-goods ; every one sees that they are a 
nuisance ; they grasp something for nothing j and are 
preying upon the publick wealth, instead of promoting 
it like the legitimate merchant. Honest men will speed- 
ily require legislation, to expel them and abate the nui- 
sance. Apply now this well-known principle to the case 
in hand. The simple system of slaveholding distributed 
that part of the products of farms, which properly went 
to the labourers' subsistence, direct to the consumers, 
without taxing it unnecessarily with the profits of the 
local merchant. The master was himself the retail 
merchant ; and he distributed his commodities to the 
proper consumers, at wholesale prices, without profit. 
The consumers were his own servants. He remarked, 
in the language of the country-, that, for this part of 
his products, he " had his market at home." Now, is it 
not obvious that the consumer, the slave, got more for 
his labour, and that the system of hireling labour, by 
invoking this local storekeeper, instead of the master, to 
do this work of distribution to consumers, which the 
master did better without him, and without charge, has 
brought in a" useless middle-man? And his industry 
being useless and unproductive, its wages are a dead 
loss to the publick wealth. This coarse fellow behind 
the countei', retailing the meal and bacon and soap, 
at extortionate retail prices, to labourers, should be 



330 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

compelled to labour himself, at some really productive 
task ; and the labourers should have gotten these sup- 
plies, untaxed with his extortion, on the farms where 
their own labour produced them, and at the farmer's 
prices. Is not this true science, and true common 
sense ? But this is just the old Virginian system. 

The justice of this view may be seen by a familiar 
case. A given landholder was, under our beneficent 
system, a slaveholder. He employed ten labourers ; 
and for them and their families he reserved four hun- 
dred bushels of grain in his garners, which their la- 
bour and his capital jointly had produced. This grain 
is worth to him wholesale prices ; and it is distributed 
by him to his servants, throughout the year, without 
charge. It is, in fact, a part of the virtual wages of 
their labour ; and they get it at the wholesale price. 
But now, abolition comes : these ten labourers become 
freem.en and householders. They now work the same 
lauds, for the same proprietor ; and instead of drawing 
their wages in the form of a generous subsistence at 
wholesale prices, they draw money. Out of that money 
they and their families must be maintained. One re- 
sult is, that the landholder now has a surplus of four 
hundred bushels more than before. Of course it goes 
to the corn-merchant. And there must these labourei's 
go, with their money wages, to buy this same corn, at 
the enhanced retail price. They get less for their la- 
bour. The local merchant, thus unnecessarily invited 
in, sucks a greedy profit ; a vain show of trading ac- 
tivity is made in the community ; and all the really pro- 
ducing classes are made actually poorer ; while this 
unproductive consumer, the unnecessary retail trader, 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 331 

congratulates himself on his mischievous prosperity. It 
is most obvious, that when the advocate of the hireling 
system attempts to reply to this, by saj'ing that his sys- 
tem has opened a place for an additional branch of in- 
dustry, that of enlarged traffic, he is preposterous. The 
answer is, that the additional industry is a loss : it is 
unproductive. As reasonably might one argue that 
crime is promotive of publick prosperity, by opening up 
a new branch of remunerative industry, — that of police 
and jailors, (a well-paid class !) 

But sensible men ever prefer facts to speculations — 
the language of experience to that of theoretical asser- 
tion. Let us then appeal to the fact, as revealed by the 
statistics furnished of us, by the anti-slavery govern- 
ment of the United States. By the census of 1860, while 
the population of the Free States was not quite nineteen 
millions, their total of assessed values, real and personal, 
was $6,541,000,000 : being three hundred and forty-six 
($346) dollars to each soul. The free white population 
of the South was a little more than eight and a quarter 
millions, and our total of assessed values was $5,465,- 
808,000 : being six hundred and sixty ($660) dollars to 
each soul ; nearly double the wealth of the North. But 
if the four millions of Africans in the South be added, 
our people still have Tour hundred and forty-seven 
($447) dollars of value for each soul, black and white. 

§ 4. Effects of Slavery in the South, comimred ivith those 
of Free Labour in the North. 

The citations just made introduce a topic upon which 
anti-slavery men have usually abounded in sweeping 
assertion ; the actual effects of our system on our indus- 



332 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

trial concerns. A fair example of these assertions may 
be seen in Dr. Wayland, Moral Science, p. 210, (Boston, 
1838:) "No country, not of great fertility, can long- 
sustain a large slave population. Soils of more than 
ordinary fertility cannot sustain it long, after the first 
richness of the soils has been exhausted. Hence, slavery 
in this country is acknowledged to have impoverished 
many valuable districts ; and hence it is continually 
migrating from the older settlements to those new and 
unfilled regions, where the accumulated manure of 
centuries of vegetation has formed a soil, whose produc- 
tiveness may, for a while, sustain a system at variance 
with the laAvs of nature. Many of our free, and of our 
slaveholding States, were peopled about the same time. 
The slaveholding States had every advantage, both in 
soil and climate, over their neighbours ; and yet the 
accumulation of capital has been greatly in favour of 
the latter," etc. 

The points asserted here are, that Northern men have 
grown rich faster than Southern men; that slavery has 
so stai'ved itself out by its wasteful nature, as to bo com- 
pelled to migrate from "many valuable districts," to 
virgin soils; and that it is slavery which exhausts those 
virgin soils. Each of these statements is absolutely 
false. That the first and most important of the three is 
so, we have just shown, by the overwhelming testimony 
of fact. Southern citizens have accumulated capital 
faster than Northern, in the ratio of six hundred and 
sixty to three hundred and forty-six. And the man- 
ner in which these thrice refuted lies are obtruded, may 
fairly illustrate the morality with which anti-slavery 
men have usually conducted their argument against us 



i 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 333 

That a conceited, pragmatical Yankee parson should be 
misled by rancourous prejudice around him, and by the 
concessions of foolish Southerners, to publish such state- 
ments thirty years ago, on a subject of which he knew 
nothing, is not very surprising. But surely Dr. Way- 
land, President of Brown University, Christian Divine, 
Instructor of youth, and Teacher of Ethicks, (!) would 
hardly have been expected to continue to print the 
falsehoods in successive editions of his work, after three 
successive census returns had utterly exploded them. 

The second statement we contradict by the census 
as categorically as the first. It is not true that slavery 
was compelled to emigrate, by its own exhaustion, to 
virgin soils in the South West. For, in fact, slavery 
has not emigrated at all. Slaves have emigrated, in 
large numbers; [as we presume, Yankees have.] But 
the institution has not receded, and, at the beginning 
of our war, was not I'cceding from its old ground in 
Virginia and the Carolinas. The slave population of 
the old States has^ shown a steady increase at each 
decennial period, and except where the j^snchmU of the 
Yankees for stealing them had rendered them insecure, 
they occupied substantially all the old counties, and 
spread into new ones, as they were settled. 

But we shall be asked : can it be possible that the 
representations so uniformly made by travellers, of the 
ragged, impoverished, and forlorn appearance of many 
districts of Eastern Virginia and the Carolinas, and of 
their poor and slovenly agriculture, are all mistaken ? 
That there is much exhausted, and still more poor land, 
in these sections; that through extensive districts the 
soil and crops are now very thin, and the tillage rude, 



\ 



334 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

we explicitly admit. But this is by no means the same 
as admitting that it is slavery which has impoverished 
those regions. In the first place, of the larger part it 
is utterly false to say that they have ever been impover- 
ished, by any cause; for they never had any fertility to 
lose. The statement usually made, as to the most of 
these old lands, is monstrously false. It has been 
usually represented that the Atlantic slope of Virginia 
was originally excessively rich, and has been brought 
to its present condition by slavery and tobacco. But 
in truth, this region, with the exception of limited spots, 
was naturally poor and thin; as every sensible person 
who has examined it knows. A vast proportion of il 
would scarcely have been judged susceptible of settle- 
ment at all, but for the attraction of its healthy climate, 
and the one or two crops of tobacco which its thin 
mould would produce. And it is only the thrifty indus- 
try of its inhabitants, together with the value of their 
staple, tobacco, which enabled them to live as plenti- 
fully as they did on so poor a soil. 

In the next place, the exhaustion is really far less 
than it appears to the Englishman or New Englander, 
and the tillage far more judicious and thorough. The 
agriculture of planting regions is, necessarily, very 
diiferent from that of farming regions ; and especially 
is the culture of the grasses to a very large extent pre- 
cluded by the nature of the crops, the soil, and the 
climate. Hence, excellent lands in the South, espec- 
ially during fall and winter, often lack that appearance 
of verdancy, which to the English eye is the chief 
measure of fertility. But to suppose those lands as 
exhausted as fields equally bare or brown would be 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 335 

correctly judged in grass regions, would be an amazing 
mistake. Nor is the management always indolent 
where it seems slovenly. The Southern planter is pro- 
verbially disinclined to consult mere appearances at the 
cost of substantial advantage. Though the fencing 
seem rough, and the farm ill kept in many respects, 
the accurate observer will find his cultivation of the 
valuable staples, cotton and tobacco, thorough and 
skillful. There is no neater culture than that of the 
tobacco fields of Virginia. 

Again : wherever the soil was originally fertile, in 
the Atlantic slope, as in the red lands of the Piedmont 
region, and the alluvial valleys of the great rivers, there 
the supposed decline of agriculture is unknown. All 
those lands which by nature were really fine, are now 
finer. The tillage was better, the yield per acre larger, 
the culture more remunerative, at the opening of the 
war, than at any date since the virgin forests were 
cleared away. 

But so far as there has been an actual exhaustion of 
Southern soil, [and that there has been is admitted,] it 
can be proved to be due to other causes than slavery. 
For an exhaustion precisely similar can be pointed out 
in many of the free States. In both regions, it has 
arisen from two causes : the proximity of new and cheap 
lands, to which the exhausting farmer could easily 
resort, and the possession of a valuable staple crop, 
whose profits powerfully stimulated large operations. 
Those free States which lay under the same circum- 
stances, have undergone the same exhaustion, except in 
so far as a natural depth of soil has made the process 
slower. If any parts of our country have escaped the 



336 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

"skirfning process" after their first settlement, it has 
^ been simply because they were not so fortunate as to 
possess any valuable staple, or else were too remote 
from a market. Western Vermont, sixty years ago, 
was resorted to as a fertile wheat growing district. 
Long ago it was so exhausted that the culture of wheat 
was nearly relinquished, and its inhabitants emigrated 
to the new lands of Western New York to raise wheat; 
while the wheat fields of Vermont are now sheep-walks, 
and her farmers buy their flour. But Western New 
York, in its turn, has declined, till its average crop per 
acre is only one-half the original; and its farmers have 
sought the fertile plains of Illinois and Michigan, to 
subject them in turn to the same exhaustion. Even 
Ohio, fertile Ohio, the boast of abolitionists, whose 
<black loam seemed able to defy human mismanagement, 
is proved by the stubborn census tables to have declined 
one-half, already, in its yield per acre. And her own 
children acknowledge, that if the appearance of the 
older parts be compared with that of twenty years ago, 
the signs of exhaustion are manifest. This vicious 
system, then, is not traceable to slave labour, seeing it 
i. prevails just as often where no slave labour exists; but 
to the cheapness of new lands, and facility of emigration. 
Virginia presents other facts demonstrating the econ- 
omy and efficiency of slave labour. The great Valley 
of Virginia (between the Blue Ridge and North Moun- 
tain Ranges,) is a farming and grazing region, of fertile 
soil and prosperous agriculture. In its great extent, 
some counties are occupied almost exclusively by free 
labour, and some have a large slave population. Now 
it is perfectly well known to all intelligent persons here, 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 337 

that precisely in those counties of this beautiful valley 
where there are most slaves, is the land highest in 
price, the agriculture most profitable and skillful, the 
farm buildings most elegant, and the community most 
prosperous and wealthy. Virginia east of the Blue 
Kidge is partly a farming and partly a planting region, 
having a mixed agriculture. Its soil is exceedingly 
diifcrcnt from that of the great valley, even where as 
fertile ; and consequently the tillage is unlike. But 
there too, the neatest, most thorough and most profitable 
agriculture, and the highest priced lauds, the finest farm 
stock, and the most prosperous landholders, arc to be 
found precisely where the slave labour is most preva- 
lent. And there is no agriculture in America superior 
to that of these favoured regions. 

But, in conclusion, even if the industiial pursuits of 
the South were in the unfavourable condition which the 
Yankees love to assert, the sufficient cause would be 
found, not in slavery, but in the exactions and swind- 
lings of their own section, through sectional federal 
legislation. Let a sober statement of these exactions 
be weighed, and the wonder will be, not that the South 
should be depleted, but that she is not bled to deatk 
In the first place, the Federal Government, at its foun- 
dation, adopted the policy of giving a fishing bounty, 
(to encourage, as it said, a school of sailors for the na- 
tional marine,) which went wholly into the pockets of 
New Englanders. It is said that the bounties paid are 
yearly about one and a half millions. Supposing that 
half only of the sum thus taken from the Federal Treas- 
ury was paid in by the South, (which we shall see is 
less than the truth,) this bounty, with that part of its 

15 



^ 



338 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

increase which has accrued by simple interest alone, 
amounts now to one hundred and seventy-one millions, 
transferred by this unfair legislation from the South to 
the North. Next are to be mentioned the tonnage 
duties "on foreign ships carrying between American 
ports, which, as the South had few ships, constituted a 
perpetual tax on us for the benefit of the North. Its 
amount cannot possibly be estimated with exactness, 
but it must have amounted to millions annually. Next 
came the oppression of a protective tariff, raising upon 
imports as high a revenue as sixty or seventy millions 
annually, in the last years of the government. As the 
South had few manufactures, and the North many, and 
as these duties, even where laid for revenue, were dis- 
criminating against the cheaper and better foreign 
manufactures which the South desired, in every case where 
discrimination was possible ; it is manifest" th^t the 
system constituted a simple robbery of the South of 
annual millions, for the benefit of the North. But we 
lost far more than the actual tariff on that portion of 
the national imports which were consumed at the South ; 
because the restrictive policy, by throwing the balance 
of trade against the nations which took our grand 
4 staples of tobacco and cotton, deprived them of the 
ability to buy so freely, and at so large prices, as they 
would have done under a policy of free trade. Thus, 
the Southern planter not only paid the Northern manu- 
facturer a profit on his goods equal to the protective 
tariff, but in the process of that robbery, lost several 
times as much more, in the prices which he should have 
received for his cotton or tobacco, had he been per- 
mitted to go with it to a free European market. This 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVEKY. 339 

method of legislative plunder was so wasteful, that the 
Yankee, in stealing one dollar from us, annihilated sev- 
eral other dollars of our values. Next may be men- 
tioned the advantage which the North gained in the 
funding of the Federal debt incurred at the Revolution- 
ary war. This was so juggled by the Hamilton party, 
as to give the avails of it chiefly to the North. Tlie 
enjoyment of that fund, with its increase since, has 
made a difference of untold millions in favour of the 
North. Last : the North twice enjoyed the advantage 
of having the National Bank situated in its midst, and 
wielding for purposes of traffic a large part of the funds 
of the Government. This superior command of ready 
money, acquired in these various ways, enabled the 
North to develope commercial centres, and to fix the 
great markets in her territory, thus ensuring to her the 
countless' profits of commissions, freights, etc., on South- 
ern trade. 

Is it wonderful that the industry of a people thus 
swindled and plundered should languish ? Who does 
not know the power of abundant capital, and especially 
of ready money, in stimulating enterprise and facili- 
tating industry ? Yet, under all this incubus the South 
has more than kept pace with its rapacious partner. 
When, therefore, the Yankee abolitionist points to any 
unfavourable contrasts in our condition, as evidence of 
the evil of slavery, he adds insult to falsehood : his own 
injustice has created the misfortune with which he 
taunts us, so far as that misfortune exists at all. 



340 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 



§ 5. Effects of Slavery on Population, Disease, and Crime. 

But our enemies argue that slavery must be an ob- 
stacle to national growth and strength ; for this is 
evinced by the very fact that they are nearly nineteen 
millions, and we only twelve and a quarter ; when, at 
the beginning, the two sections were nearly equal in 
strength. Let us, therefore, look into this question. 
The increase of population is usually a sure test of the 
physical well-being of a people. Hardship and des- 
titution repress population, by obstructing marriages, 
by breeding diseases, and by increasing the mortality 
of infants. If the population of the South be found, to 
have a rapid natural increase, it will prove, therefore, 
the general prosperity of the people ; and if tlje black 
race be found to multiply rapidly, it will be an evidence 
that their physical condition is happy, or in other words, 
that the institution of slavery is a humane one for 
them. Sufficient access being denied us to the statis- 
tics collected in 1860, our remarks must be based in 
part on the returns of 1850, and previous periods. 
These returns show that between 1840 and 1850, the 
whites of the free States increased thirty-nine and a 
half 2)er cent., (39.42,) and the whites of the slave States 
increased thirty-four and a fourth per cent., (34.26.) 
The climate, the occupations, and the African labour of 
the South, repel almost the whole of that teeming im- 
migration from Europe which has been rushing to our 
shores ; so that making allowance for this source of 
population, it will be seen that the natural increase of 
Southern whites is as rapid as that of Northern. 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 341 

lu 1860, the wliites in the free States had increased 
to about eighteen and a half millions ; and in the slave 
States, to about eight and a quarter millions. The in- 
crease for the free States was, therefore, forty-two (42) 
per cent., and for the slave States thirty-three per cent, 
(33.) The census showed that in the decade between 
1840 and 1850, four-fifths of the foreign immigration, 
for the reasons mentioned, went into the free States. 
If we suppose the same ratio to have prevailed in the 
last decade, then the fact that the North has received 
four-fifths of the immense rush of Europeans who re- 
sorted to our shores in the last ten years, will abun- 
dantly account for this difference of increase. The 
South has grown as fast in white population, as the 
North would have done, left to itself. 

But the increase of the slave population of the South 
is obscured by no such disturbing caiise. The South 
having magnanimously concurred, and even gone be- 
fore, in suppressing the foreign slave trade, from a con- 
viction of its immorality, the African race has received 
no accession whatever, in our day, from immigration. 
Between 1840 and 1850, the increase of the slave popu- 
tion solely from the excess of births over deaths, was 
twenty-eight and eight-tenths per cent, (28.8,) and 
between 1850 and 1860, it was twenty-three and three- 
tenths (23.3) per cent. One cause for the diminished 
rate of increase in the latter decade, was doubtless the 
growing passion of the Yankees for the abduction of 
our slaves ; which, towards the last, carried off thou- 
sands annually. But either rate of increase is more 
rapid than the whites, either North or South, ever at- 
tained without the aid of immigration. The native in- 



342 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

crease of the free States in ten years has probably been 
between eleven and fifteen per cent. So that tried by 
this well-established test, the physical well-being of the 
slaves is higher than of any race in the world. Mean- 
time, the miserable free blacks of New England, in the 
midst of the boasted philanthropy of abolitionism, only 
increase at the rate of one and seven-tenths of one ^^er 
cent, in ten years 1 Such is the stern and impartial 
testimony of fact. How calamitous must be that load 
of social oppression, of disease and destitution, which 
thus nearly annihilates the increase of this fruitful 
race ! Yet this is the condition to which the benevo- 
lent abolitionist would reduce the prosperous servants 
of the South. 

This seems the suitable place to notice the most 
insulting and preposterous of the abolitionists' slan- 
ders. It is that expressed by calling Virginia the 
"slave-breeding commonwealth." AVhat do these in- 
solent asses mean ? Do they intend to revile Virginia, 
because she did not suppress the natural increase of 
this peaceful and happy class of her people, by whole- 
sale infanticide? Or because she did not, like the 
North, subject them to social evils so cruel and mur- 
derous, as to kill off that increase by the slow torture 
of vice, oppression, and destitution ? It was the 
honour of Virginia, that she was a man-breeding com- 
monwealth ; that her benignant government made ex- 
istence a blessing, both to the black man and the 
white, and, consequently, conferred it on many of both. 
If it has been proved, which we claim, that servitude 
was the best condition for the blacks, and that it pro- 
moted their multiplication, then this is a praise and not 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 343 

a reproach to Virginia. How perverse and absurd is 
the charge, that Virginia was actuated by a motive 
beastly and avaricious, in bestowing existence on 
many black men, and making it a blessing to them ; 
because, forsooth, her wise government of them made 
them useful to the State and to themselves ! By the 
same reason, the Christian parents who rejoice in chil- 
dren as a gift of the Lord, and a blessing to him "who 
hath his quiver full of them," are "slave-breeders," be- 
cause they make their children useful, and hope to find 
them supports to their old age. 

But medical statistics have revealed the fact, that 
another sure test of the physical well-being and pro- 
gress of a people may be -found, in the jyer-centarje of 
hereditary disease, idiocy, and lunacy among them. 
The hardships, destitution, and immoralities of a bad 
state of society have a powerful influence to propagate 
bliudness, deafness, idiocy, scrofula, cretinism, and to 
harass the feebler minds into derangement ; while the 
blessings of good government, abundant food and rai- 
ment, and social happiness, strengthen and elevate the 
"human breed." The returns of the census of 1850 
were collected by authority of Congress, on these 
points, and they show that of whites. North and South, 
about one person in every thousand is either deaf, dumb, 
blind, insane, or idiotic. Of free blacks in the North, 
one person in every five hundred and six was in one or 
the other of these sad conditions ! Of the black people 
of the South, one person among every one thousand four 
hundred and forty-six, was thus afflicted. So that, by 
this test. Southern slaves are three times as prosperous, 
contented, happy, and moral as Northern free blacks, 



344 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

and once and a half times as much so as the whites 
themselves. The frightful proportion which these ele- 
mental maladies have reached among- the wretched 
free blacks of abolitiondom, does more to reveal the 
misery of their condition there, than volumes of de- 
scription. 

The statistics of crime and pauperism reveal results 
yet more astounding for our enemies, and triumphant 
for us. While the free States had, in 1850, about 
thirteen and a half millions, including a few hundreds 
of thousands of free blacks, and the South about nine 
and a half millions of whites and blacks, there were, in 
that year (23,664) twenty-three thousand six hundred 
and sixty-four criminal convictions in the North, and 
(2,921) two thousand nine hundred and twenty-one in 
the South. The same year, the North was supporting 
(114,704) one hundred and fourteen thousand seven 
hundred and four paupers; and the South (20,563) 
twenty thousand five hundred and sixty-three. One of 
the most remarkable things is the great excess of both 
crime and pauperism in the New England States, " the 
, land of steady habits," not only as compared with the 
South, but as compared with the remainder of the 
North, except New York. In Boston and its adjacent 
county, in Massachusetts, the persons in jails, houses 
of correction or refuge, and alms-houses, bore, among 
the blacks, the ratio of one to every sixteen: and among 
the whites, of one to every thirty-four. In Richmond, 
Virginia, the same unhappy classes bore, among the 
blacks, the ratio of one to every forty-six, and among 
the wliites, of one to every one hundred and twelve. By 
this test, then, the white people of Richmond are three 



I 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 345 

times as happy and moral as the white people of 
Boston, and the negroes of Richmond have propor- 
tiouably one-third less crime than the white people of 
Boston, and are nearly three times as moral as the free 
blacks of that city. 

We have thus examined the testimony of facts, as 
given to us under the unwilling authority of the Con- 
gress of the United States. They show that, by all the 
tests recognized among statesmen, slavery has not 
made the South less populous, less rich, less moral, 
less healthy, or less abundant in the resources of 
living than its boastful rival, in proportion to its op- 
portunities. On this evidence of experience we rest 
ourselves. 

In dismissing this head of our discussion, we would 
briefly touch two points. One is the annual produc- 
tion of the industry of the North and the South. 
Without burdening the reader with statistical details, 
it is sufficient to sum up the annual results of the three 
great branches, of agriculture, mining, and manufac- 
tures. The North exceeds the South in proportion to 
population, in wheat, hay, dairy products, and manu- 
factures ; while the South greatly exceeds the North in 
the great staples of Indian corn and tobacco, and sur- 
passes it almost immeasurably in rice, cotton, and 
naval stores. Summing up the varied productions of 
each section, we find that the industry of the South is, 
on the whole, more productive than that of the North, 
relatively to its numbers. And of the great commodi- 
ties which constitute the basis of foreign commerce, 
the South yields more than the North, in about the 
ratio of four to one 1 

15* 



346 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

The other point is the relative improvement of the 
soil. According to the census of 1860, there were four 
acres of improved land to each inhabitant of the North, 
appraised, with their rateable proportion of stock and 
implements, at $223. This gives about $56 for each 
acre and its stock. In the South, on the other hand, 
each inhabitant claims nine acres of improved land, 
valued, with their stock and implements, at $322. This 
allows about $36 for each acre and its stock. It has 
been argued that this evinces the slovenly and imper- 
fect agriculture of the slaveholding States, and the 
comparative exhaustion of their soils. It is said, their 
rude tillage is spread over a far wider surface, and 
conducted with inferiour appointments. And this de- 
preciating rc-sult slavery has brought about, they as- 
sert, in spite of superiour natural advantages. We re- 
mark that, contrary to the usual assertion, the natural 
fertility was superiour in the free States. The soil of 
the Middle States had a better natural average than 
that of the old Atlantic slave States, and the North- 
western States had a vastly larger proportion of fertile 
lands than the South-western. In the next place, the 
agriculture of the South is of such a character that it 
requires a wider area ; and yet this requirement argues 
nothing of its greater imperfection. It may require 
more space to fly a kite than to spin a top, and yet it 
does not follow that the kitc-fljdng is less skillful sport 
than the top-spinning. An iron manufactory must nec- 
essarily cover more ground than a chemical labora- 
tory; but no one argues thence, that the ironmonger is 
less a master of his trade than the manufacturer .of 
drugs, of his. Last : the fact that the Southern planter 



ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY. 34:Y 

accounts the labour of his farm as property, and so, as 
a part of his invested capital, causes a lower nominal 
valuation of his lands, though there be no inferiority of 
actual production. Grain and grass lands in the county 
of Rockingham have always sold higher than grain and 
grass lands in the county of Albemarle, which were 
actually yielding the same products annually. The 
former were tilled by free labour, and the latter by 
slave ; but the Albemarle farming was confessedly as 
skillful, as economical, and as profitable, as the Rock- 
ingham. The explanation is the following : The Rock- 
ingham farmer, h'ring his free labour, needed no more 
capital for this purpose than was sufficient to pay the 
wages of a few months in advance of the realization of 
his crop. The Albemarle farmer expended a large 
portion of his farming capital in the purchase of slaves, 
and afterwards paid no money in hire. The former, in- 
vesting twenty thousand dollars in agriculture, could 
expend the whole sum in land, except what was re- 
quired to stock it and pay wages for a few months. 
Thus he would begin by buying three hundred acres of 
land for eighteen thousand dollars. But the slavehold- 
ing farmer began by expending eight thousand dollars 
in the purchase of servants, leaving him but ten thou- 
sand to pay for the three hundred acres of land. For 
this reason land of the same actual value must berated 
at a smaller nominal price among slaveholders than 
. among farmers employing free labour. But the true 
profits of the farming are not reduced thereby, in the 
proportion of eighteen thousand to ten thousand. For 
the slaveholder no longer has to tax his crops, (equal 
in gross amount to those of the Rockingham farmer,) 



34:8 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

with the hire of labourers. That tax he pays in the 
shape of the annual interest on the eight thousand dol- 
lars, which, in the first instance, he paid for his ser- 
vants. Hence the facts do not argue that the land is 
intrinsically less productive or less profitable; they 
only argue a difierent distribution of capital between 
the two sources of production, land and labour. In 
consequence of that difference, the land must be repre- 
sented by less money. This obvious explanation ex- 
plodes much that has been taught concerning the com- 
parative barrenness of Southern farming. 



OOKCLUSION. 349 



CHAPTER IX. 

CONCLUSION. 

These facts, then, have been established beyond 
question : That slavery was forced upon Virginia 
against her protests, by the cupidity of New England, 
and the tyranny and cupidity of Old England : That 
the African race being thus placed in the State with- 
out her agency, she adopted the remedy of domestic 
slavery, which is proved by the law of God in the Old 
and New Testaments to be innocent, and shown by 
events to be beneficent to the Africans : That, accord- 
ing to history, the laws of nations, and the laws of 
the British Empire inherited by the American States, 
slaveholding was lawful throughout the territories of 
the United States, save where it was restrained by 
State sovereignty: That it was expressly recognized 
and protected by the Constitution ; such recognition 
having been an essential condition, without which the 
Southern States would never have accepted the Union : 
That every department of the government, and all 
political parties, habitually recognized the political 
equality of the slaveholding States, and of slaveholding 
citizens : That the Supreme Court, the aiithorized ex- 
pounder of the Constitution, also recognized the equal 
rights of slaveholders in all the common territories : 



350 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

And that slavery proved itself at once, not only lawful, 
but eminently promotive of the well-being of the 
Africans, of the interests of the whole government, and 
of the publick wealth. Then the North, having ceased 
to find its own interest in the slave trade and slavery, 
changed its ground, and began to cast about, merely 
from a desire of sectional power in the confederacy, 
for means to destroy the institution. It is unnecessary 
to argue that the whole free-soil controversy, and the 
war which grew out of it, were really designed by 
them to destroy slavery in the States : for they them- 
selves, in the pride of success, have long ceased to 
conceal that fact. 

Now, had slavery been intrinsically a moral and 
social evil, yet its protection was in the compact be- 
tween the States ; and to the honest mind, there was 
but one course for the North to adopt when she con- 
cluded that she could no longer endure her connexion 
with slavery. This was, to restore to the South the 
pledges, the fulfilment of which had become irksome ; 
and to dissolve the Union peacefully and fairly, as it 
had been formed, leaving us in possession of our own 
country and rights, to bear our own sin, and pursue 
our own destiny. It was the federal compact alone, 
which gave the North any right to govern the South. 
If they repudiated that contract, it was annihilated 
equally for both parties. Thenceforward their claim 
to legislate for the South, or exercise any power over 
her, was baseless and iniquitous. No fair mind will 
dispute, that even though slavery had been an inde- 
fensible wrong, the South ought not to have permitted 
herself to be assailed for it, in an equal Union which 



CONCLUSION. 351 

she had sovereignly entered with this institution ex- 
pressly recognized. But that basis of argument we 
utterly repudiate. We will not defend ourselves from 
such premises. We claim to have been justified, not 
only by the Constitution of the United States, but by 
God and the right, in our rights to slaves. Our status 
in the Federal Union was, so far, as equal, as honour- 
able, as legal, as 'free from ethical taint, as that of 
any other States with their property in horses, ships, 
land, and factories. 

We have, in another place, (the Life of Jackson,) 
stated with sufficient fulness, the admitted facts and 
doctrines of the Constitution, which justified the South- 
ern States in resuming their independence, when the 
compact, to which they had partially yielded it, was 
destroyed. The indisputable proofs (now fully admit- 
ted by anti-slavery men) might be cited, which showed 
that their election of a sectional President, with other 
aggressions, were intended to- destroy the most ac- 
knowledged and vital rights of the States. Had Vir- 
ginia assumed her attitude of resistance upon that 
event, she might have defended it by that maxim, so 
obvious to every just mind, that it is righteous and 
wise to meet the first clear aggression, even though its 
practical mischiefs be unimportant: that "a people 
should rather contend for their rights upon their 
threshold than upon their hearthstone." But we had 
stronger justification still. The aggression intended 
was practically vast and ruinous in its results. It has 
been shown in previous chapters, that the destruction 
of African slavery among us was vital to us, because 
emancipation by such means would be destructive of 



352 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

the very framework of society, and of our most funda- 
mental rig-hts and interests. All our statesmen, of all 
parties, had taught us, not only that the reserved 
rights of the States were the bulwarks of the liberties 
of the people, but that emancipation by federal aggres- 
sion would lead to the destruction of all other rights. 
A Clay, as much as a Calhoun, proclaimed that when 
abolition overthrew slavery in the South, it also would 
equally overthrow the Constitution. Calhoun, and 
other Southern statesmen, with a sagacity which every 
day confirms, had forewarned us, that when once 
abolition by federal aggression came, these other sure 
results would follow: that the same greedy lust of 
power which had meddled between masters and slaves, 
would assuredly, and for the stronger reason, desire to 
use the political weight of the late slaves against their 
late masters : that having enforced a violent emanci- 
pation, Jhey would enforce, of course, negro suffrage, 
negro eligibility to office, and a full negro equality: 
that negro equality thus theoretically established 
would be practical negro superiority: that the tyrant 
section, as it gave to its victims, the white men of the 
South, more and more causes of just resentment, would 
find more and more violent inducements to bribe the 
negroes, with additional privileges and gifts, to assist 
them in their domination : that this miserable career 
must result in one of two things, either a war of races, 
in which the whites or the blacks would be, one or the 
other, exterminated ; or amalgamation. But while we 
believe that "God made of one blo.od all nations of 
men to dwell under the whole heavens," we know that 
the African has become, according to a well-known 



CONCLUSION. 353 

law of natural history, by the manifold influences of 
the ages, a different, fixed species of the race, separated 
from the white man by traits bodily, mental and moral, 
almost as rigid and permanent as those of genus. 
Hence the offspring of an amalgamation must be a 
hybrid race, stamped with all the feebleness of the 
hybrid, and incapable of the career of civilization and 
glory as an independent race. And this apparently is 
the destiny which our conquerors have in view. If 
indeed they can mix the blood of the heroes of Ma- 
nassas with this vile stream from the fens of Africa, 
then they will never again have occasion to tremble 
before the righteous resistance of Virginian freemen ; 
but will have a race supple and vile enough to fill that 
position of political subjection, which they desire to 
fix on the South. 

But although Virginia well knew that the very exist- 
ence of society was assailed by these aggressions, so 
strict was her loyalty to the Constitution, she refused to 
make the election of a sectional President the imme- 
diate occasion of resistance, because, outrage as it was, 
it was nominally effected by the forms of the Constitu- 
tion. When her sisters, more advanced than herself in 
the spirit of resistance, resumed their independence, 
she refused to follow them. When, warned by thicken- 
ing events, she assembled her Convention, immediate 
embodiment of her own sovereignty, it was not a con- 
vention of secessionists. Only twenty-five, out of the 
hundreds of members, advocated that extreme remedy. 
But she did by this Convention, what she had already 
done by her General Assembly: she repeated the as- 
sertion of the great principles on which the government 



354 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

was founded ; that it was built on the free consent of 
States originally sovereign, and not on force ; that how- 
ever wrongfully any State might resume its indepen- 
dence without just cause, the only remedy was concilia- 
tion, and not force ; that therefore the coercion of a 
sovereign State was unlawful, mischievous, and must 
be resisted. There Virginia took her stand — on this 
foundation right, as essential to the well-being of as- 
sailant as of assailed. It was not for slavery that she 
deliberately resolved to draw the sword, cardinal as she 
knew circumstances had rendered slavery at this time ; 
but for this corner-stone of all constitutional liberty. 
North and South. And this, too, was a principle which 
she had always held against all assailants, in all ages 
of the Republick. She had asserted it firmly against 
her own favourite, Andrew Jackson, in the case of 
South Carolina, notwithstanding her disapproval of the 
nullifyiiig doctrine then held by that State. She only 
asserted her time-honoured creed now. It was not 
until the claim to subjugate sovereign States was prac- 
tically applied, that Virginia drew the sword ; and then, 
not fer slavery, but for the Constitution, and the liber- 
ties of a continent, which it had protected. 

It is therefore a great and an odious perversion of 
the truth, to' say that the defensive movement of the 
South was a war to extend and perpetuate slavery, 
African slavery was not the cause, but the occasion of 
the strife, on either side. Gn the Northern side it was 
merely the pretext, employed by that aggressive sec- 
tion to carry out ambitious projects of domination. To 
the South, it was merely the circumstance of the con- 
troversy, that the right assailed was our right to the 



CONCLUSION. 355 

labour of our servants. It was not the circumstance 
for which we contended, but the principle — the great 
cause of moral right, justice, and regulated liberty. It 
was therefore a gross injustice to burden our cause, in 
the minds of the rest of the world, with the odium 
which the prejudices of Christendom have attached to 
the name of slaveholder. Even those w^ho are unable 
to overcome those prejudices, would, if just and mag- 
nanimous, approve our attempt to defend ourselves. 

Finally: tlie means by which this defence has been 
overpowered were as iniquitous as the attack. A war 
was waged, precipitated by treachery, aggravated by 
every measure of barbarity condemned by the laws of 
nations, by the agency of multitudinous hordes of for- 
eign mercenaries, and semi-civilized slaves seduced 
from their owners ; against captives, women, children, 
and private property; with the attempt to let loose 
upon our little community (which they found otherwise 
unconquerable) a servile insurrection and all the hor- 
rors of domestic assassination — an attempt disappoint- 
ed only by the good feeling and good character which 
the servants themselves had learned from the humanity 
of their masters. The impartial and magnanimous 
mind which weighs these facts cannot but feel itself 
swelling with an unutterable sense of indignation. The 
Southern people feel little impulse to give expression to 
their sense of the enormous wrongs, in reproaches or 
vituperations of those who have thus destroyed them. 
When resistance was practicable, they gave a more ex- 
pressive and seemly utterance to this sentiment, in the 
energy of their blows. Let the heroick spirit in which 
the soldiers of Virginia and the South struck for their 



356 A DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA. 

liberties, and suffered, and died, represent our appre- i 

ciation of this injustice. A righteous God, for our sins 
towards Him, has permitted us to be overthrown by our 
enemies and His. It is vain to complain in the ear of a 
maddening tempest. Although our people are now op- ,j 

pressed with present sufferings and a prospective des- .^jj 

tiny more cruel and disastrous than has been visited 
on any civilized people of modern ages, they suffer 
silently, disdaining to complain, and only raising to the 
chastening heavens, the cry, "How long, Lord?" 
Their appeal is to history, and to Him. They well 
know, that in due time, they, although powerless them- 
selves, will be avenged through the same disorganizing 
heresies under which they now suffer, and through the 
anarchy and woes which they will bring upon the 
North. Meantime, let the arrogant and successful 
wrongdoers flout our defence with disdain : we will 
meet them with it again, when it will be heard ; in the 
day of their calamity, in the pages of impartial history, 
and in the Day of Judgment. 



i 



EDWARD J. HALE & SON, 

(Late op Fatettevii-le, North Carolina,) 

Publisliers k WLolesale , Booksellers & Stationers, 

No. 16 MURRAY STREET, New York, 

Publish the following works : — 

DEFENCE OF VIRGINIA, AND OF THE SOUTH. By 

Rev. Dr. Dabney, author of a Life of Gen. (Stonewall) 

Jackson. 1 vol., 12mo, cloth $1 50 

DIARY OF A REFUGEE, DURING THE WAR. By a 

Lady of Virginia. 1 vol., 12mo, cloth 2 00 

LIFE OF GEN. PAT. CLEBURNE. (In preparation.) 
HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA. By Rev. F. J^. 

Hawks, D.D., LL.D. 2 vols., 8vo, cloth 5 00 

Library sheep 6 00 

Half calf 7 00 

DEVEREUX'S NORTH CAROLINA EQUITY REPORTS. 

New edition. Vol. 2. 
DEVEREUX AND BATTLE'S EQUITY REPORTS. New 

edition. 2 vols. 
DEVEREUX AND BATTLES NORTH CAROLINA LAW 

REPORTS. New edition. Vols. 1 and 2. 
IREDELL'S NORTH CAROLINA LAW REPORTS. Vols. 

C, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. 
UlEDELL'S NORTH CAROLINA EQUITY REPORTS. 

Vols. 4, 5, 6, 7. 

They are prepared to furnish any of these, or complete sets 
of North Carolina Reports, as far as extant. Also, Battle's 
New and Complete DIGEST of these Reports, brought down to 
1866, and superseding all former Digests. 3 vols. 



E. J. Hale <£• So)TbS Pahlications. 



SOUTHERN SCHOOL BOOKS. 

The subscribers are prepared and will be pleased to supply 
their customers with School Books of all kinds in use, but are 
particularly desirous to extend the use of books prepared for 
Southern Scliools, by Southern authors, and therefore free from 
matter offensive to Southern peQple. Most prominent among 
these may be mentioned the 

NORTH CAROLINA READERS. By Rev. C. H. Wiley, Su- 
perintendent of Common Schools in North Carolina, and Rev. 
Dr. Hubbard, Professor in the University of North Carolina. 

THE UNIVERSITY SERIES OP SCHOOL AND COLLEGE 
TEXT-BOOKS. By Professors Holmes, Vexable, GiLDKrt- 
SLEEVE, De Vere, and Le Comte, of Southern Universities, 
and Captain M. P. Maury, one of the most distinguished of 
living Ceographers. 

OUR OWN SERIES of Spellers, Readers, and Writing Books. 
By^Rev. Professor Rich^vrd Sterling, of Greensborough, 
N. C. 

Of the above, the following (wholesale prices armexed) are 
now, and others soon will be, ready : — 

North Carolina Reader, No. 1 <J0 

2 50 

3 75 

Holmes's Southern Pictorial Primer, per dozen 75 

" " Elementary Speller, " net cash . 1 20 

" " Pictorial 1st Reader, each 20 

" " " 2d " o4 

3d " 45 

" " " 4th " 04 

5th " 1 00 

Venable's First Lessons in Numbers 24 

" Mental Arithmetic 45 

De Vere's Grammar in French 1 40 



E. J. Hale & Sorts Publications. 



Sterling's Southern Primer, paper, per dozen 90 

" " " stiff covers, " 1 08 

" " Pictorial Primer, " 3 00 

" " Speller, per dozen, net cash 1 20 

" " 1st Reader, each 25 

2d " " 50 

3d " " GO 

4th " " 90 

5th " " 1 08 

" " Writing Books, per dozen 1 80 

Bingham's Latin Grammar. By Ool. W. Bingham, Prin- 
cipal of the celebrated Bingham School, Oaks, Ala- 
mance County, N. C. Each 120 

Bingham's English Grammar. By the same. Each 67 

Ross's Southeyi Speaker. By Professor Ross, of Louisiana 1 13 
Hill's Algebra (Gen. D. II. Hill, of " The Land we Love ") 1 50 
They respectfully invite orders for these or other School, 
Miscellaneous, and Standard Books, Stationery, &c., &c., from 
their friends and the Southern public. They believe that they 
supply Booksellers, Merchants, Teachers, and others, with goods 
quite as cheaply, for cash, as they can be bought in this city. 

Address 

E. J. HALE & SON, 

No. 16 MURRAY STREET, NEW YORK. 

Jt^ Any Book, of their otcn or others' publications,, will ie sent 
by Mail, free of postage, on receipt of PMisher's advertised retail 
price. 







•iQ!,l 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



DOOmDlifillt)